a fortnightly publication of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines
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Int’l institutions protest against harassment of Philippine NGOs

The Marcos regime has continued the practice of his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte of harassing non-governmental organizations (NGO) engaged in disaster response and defense of human rights. The regime’s minions have been red-tagging the workers of these NGO’s, accusing them of links to the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army, illegally arresting them and freezing their bank accounts.

These suppressive actions come into the attention of foreign institutions which have been supporting the work of these NGO’s in bringing relief and assistance to the poor sections of the Filipino population. 

Since three years ago, the military has been red-tagging and threatening the Leyte Center for Development (LCDe). Recently, the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) ordered the banks to freeze the accounts of its director Jazmin Aguisanda Jerusalem, her relatives, workers of the LCDe and even businesses which sold relief goods.

The German Embassy in Manila has been supporting poor Samar farmers through small-scale development projects including a rice mill in Western Samar built in cooperation with the LCDe. Ambassador Andreas Pfaffernoschke visited the mill,  met with the farmer beneficiaries as well as local government officials and was pleased to learn about the rice mill’s positive impact. 

The embassy said via the media that “The recent freezing of the accounts of the LCDe by the AMLC including the private accounts of the founder of the NGO, Ms. Jazmin Jerusalem and her family, are detrimental to our efforts to improve the living conditions of the beneficiaries in poor and marginalized regions of Samar and Leyte. We expect the quick review of the freezing in order to allow the NGO to continue their work.”

In another instance, in May 2024, the regime’s judiciary launched a salvo of serious and baseless charges against organizations defending human rights of peasant communities. Five activists of the Paghida-et sa Kauswagan (NCO) and an employee of the Belgian NGO Quinoa asbl are accused of financing terrorism.

The widow of the assassinated president of PDG, lawyer Ben Ramos, Clarissa Ramos, is now a refugee in Belgium and employed by the Belgian NGO Quinoa asbl. She is accused of financing terrorism by the Philippine government. According to Hélène Debaisieux, coordinator of Quinoa asbl: “The accusations against our colleague are unfounded. This attack on Clarissa and the other members of PDG is clearly not an isolated event. It is part of an ongoing campaign to silence and target human rights defenders, development workers, media workers and other critical voices in the Philippines.” 

On May 27 NGO representatives staged a rally and delivered a letter to the Philippine ambassador in Brussels. They are calling for an end to the unfounded prosecution of human rights defenders.