By Jewilyn Sta. Maria

PHOTO: Panay News, NTF-ELCAC, Rappler

The National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) announced on February 7 that they are taking legal action against the news outlet, Rappler, a report released by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on their Facebook page said.

According to NUJP, the legal action was triggered by a fact-check report on one of the task force’s spokespersons accusing members of the Makabayan Bloc of being "urban operatives" of "communist guerrillas".

Rappler's fact-check report, according to NTF-ELCAC, is an 'unsubstantiated' claim. They also added that the report spread disinformation to the public and has brought damage to the country.

Vera Files was also mentioned by NTF-ELCAC, pursuant to false information that is hostile to national security. They also stated that they will take legal action against Facebook for allowing the media company to propagate allegedly misleading material.

As previously reported, the anti-communist task force has repeatedly accused Rappler of being a member or ally of communist organizations in connection with fact-checking stories on the news website.

Presidential Communications Undersecretary and NTF-ELCAC’s spokesperson, Lorraine Badoy on March 4, 2021, accused the news website over its fact-check report about her supposedly misleading Facebook post on March 2 the same year. Later, Rappler issued a statement sharply condemning Badoy for yet another instance of her red-tagging.

Meanwhile, KARAPATAN, a human rights group, defended Rappler's credibility as a news outlet and a fact-checking institution, saying it is a far cry from  the NTF-ELCAC's reputation for propagating lies, noting that there are numerous reports in line with their reputation, they have incited and directed violence and tremendous "harm on human rights defenders, journalists, and its communities".