By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer

“Malayo pa ‘yung tatahakin nyan kung talagang madedefund po ‘yan."

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque had this to say amid calls to defund the budget allocated to National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) over alleged red-tagging activities, adding that a spokesperson should not be a reason for such calls.

“Ang aking panawagan sa ating mga policy makers, alam naman po nila na ang policy ay may pagkakaiba doon sa mga nagpapatupad ng policy. At hindi naman dahilan para isang tao na tagapag-salita ang maging dahilan para mabalewala ang isang polisiya,” Roque said in a media briefing on Monday, April 26.

Roque agreed with the statement of NTF-ELCAC Spokesperson and Southern Luzon Commander Antonio Parlade Jr. that the senators should not defund the whole task force if he is the only problem.

The Palace official earlier said it is “not justified” to defund the task force since it is an initiative to put an end to armed conflicts in communities.

Roque’s remark came after several senators urged for the recall of the budget allocated to NTF-ELCAC as they want it to be realigned to the government’s coronavirus response over alleged red-tagging activities against an organizer of a community pantry in Quezon City.

After the incident, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperson ordered Parlade and Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy to refrain from issuing attacks against community pantry organizers.

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