Executive Order 23 issued last month by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. does not abolish or dismantle the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) or take away its mandate, contrary to a claim of the task force’s former spokesperson, Lorraine Badoy.
Instead, EO 23, signed on the eve of Labor Day, forms the Inter-Agency Committee for the Protection of the Freedom of Association and Right to Organize of Workers and is chaired by the president.
Marcos also chairs NTF-ELCAC which was created in 2018 by then president Rodrigo Duterte through EO 70 to address the root causes of the communist insurgency in the country.
Badoy made the erroneous claim about EO 23 in a May 4 live broadcast on SMNI’s Laban Kasama ang Bayan, saying at the 28:52 mark:
This is how ridiculous this EO 23 is. It effectively abolishes the NTF-ELCAC. Ganito kaseryoso ito (That’s how serious this is).
National Security Council Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya has refuted the claim, elaborating in a press statement on May 8:
Nowhere does it state in Executive Order No. 23 that the NTF ELCAC will be abolished or dismantled. The two Executive issuances relate to different topics. EO 23 relates to the protection of the freedom of association and the right to organize while EO 70, which created the NTF ELCAC, relates to the institutionalization of the whole of nation approach to attaining sustainable peace as well as the adoption of a national peace framework.
Under EO 23, the interagency committee will strengthen coordination and expedite the investigation, prosecution and resolution of cases for violations of the freedom of association and right to organize of workers.
The committee also acts as a task force to investigate and prosecute violations of the freedom of association and right to organize.
The NTF-ELCAC formed under EO 70 in 2018 is made up of various government agencies and is tasked with implementing programs and projects aimed at ending the insurgency.
Badoy was previously the spokesperson of the NTF-ELCAC. However, after multiple accusations of red-tagging or linking citizens to communist terrorist groups without adequate evidence, as well as an incident involving threatening a judge through a Facebook post, Badoy has since been disassociated with the task force. She co-hosts SMNI’s Laban Kasama ang Bayan. (JB)