Senator Win Gatchalian said that Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade should shift back his focus on his role in the military instead of calling senators names and linking community pantries to the communist movement.
Gatchalian said he was disappointed that Parlade, who serves as the spokesperson of the country’s anti-insurgency task force, had to resort to name-calling and red-baiting.
“Not because we have a difference of opinion, we will start degrading one another. The problem is Parlade. That’s why all of these things are now becoming a hot topic,” the senator said.
“The community pantries are an inspiration to many especially to ordinary Filipinos. Even here in Valenzuela, in our city, we now have about 30 community pantries all launched by ordinary Filipinos,” he added.
RELATED STORY: DOH pushes for guidelines on community pantries
Gatchalian said none of these community pantries are connected to communists.
“None of them are connected to any NPA (New People’s Army) or any terrorists. So, in other words, the name-calling and the red-tagging of community pantries is uncalled for,” he said.
Gatchalian also added that Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, also the spokesperson of National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, should also “be very careful with her statements.”
“She stands to represent an agency who was given huge amount of money to fight the insurgency. So, we can’t use that…money to hurl lies and to accuse people, red-tagging people without any basis,” the senator said.
Earlier, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. ordered both spokespersons of the NTF-ELCAC that they are no longer allowed to issue statements on community pantries.
Esperon said in a phone interview on Sunday that Parlade and Badoy will be asked to “Desist in the meantime, not to desist as spokespersons, but from making comments about the community pantry issue.”
Esperon said that the gag order was to remove the confusion on the bayanihan initiative.
“Kapag nagsalita sila akala kasi ng iba some would take it as the two are against the concept of bayanihan,” Esperon said.
“Ang purpose lang naman to avoid no heated exchanges as if we are red-tagging or saying that bayanihan is bad. But no, we are not, because we ourselves are proponents of bayanihan spirit,” he added.