The following is a news release from Lieutenant Colonel J-Jay Javines, public affairs office of the Army’s Third Infantry Division. It is printed in full
CAMP PERALTA, Jamindan, Capiz – The Army’s 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division, under the leadership of Major General Marion R Sison, has thrown its full support behind the recent filing of a terrorism case against the Community Empowerment Resource Network (CERNET), an allied non-government organization of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG), based in Cebu City.
This, after the AFP’s Visayas Command held a press conference on September 28, 2023, presided over by 302nd Infantry Brigade Commander Brigadier General Joey Escanillas, informing that a case was filed against 27 personalities connected to CERNET for violating Republic Act 10168, also known as the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.
“We will do everything to stop this NGO and all personalities behind this group from supporting the terroristic activities of the CTG that have ruined the lives of our countrymen. They took advantage of the narratives of the marginalized sectors to raise funds to support and sustain all the atrocities of the communist terrorist organization. Clearly, they are using these funds to harm our people, destroy our communities, and destabilize our country. We cannot allow them to continue these evil actions,” MGen Sison said.
During the press conference, BGen Escanillas disclosed that CERNET had been a front for the CPP-NPA since 2001, operating a covert fund-generation scheme to support its logistical and financial needs. The said NGO instead diverted funds generated by CERNET to aid the marginalized sector to finance the terror activities of the CPP-NPA.
Brigadier General Escanillas further revealed that, according to their estimations, CERNET has amassed more than P300 million since 2012. However, a mere fraction of this substantial sum has been channeled towards aiding the underprivileged, as the organization’s principal beneficiaries are the terrorists themselves.
“CERNET’s case is another brazen example of the duplicity exhibited by individuals and groups allied with the CTG, who often claim to be victims of red tagging,” MGen Sison emphasized.
The 3ID COmmander cited the case of Kerlan Fanagel, a notorious activist turned terrorist, an IP organizer in Mindanao who was among the six slain NPAs in the Bohol encounter last September 7. Fanagel was also the Chairman of PASAKA-Southern Mindanao Region, which also took advantage of the narratives of the marginalized sectors to raise funds to support and sustain the activities of the CTG.
Based on reports, CERNET is also active in raising issues on alleged human rights violations of the state forces. On May 26, 2012, CERNET, along with the National Union of People’s Lawyers Cebu Chapter (NUPL-Cebu), held the Visayas-Wide People’s Lawyers Conference at the Rajah Hotel in Cebu City to address their so-called increasing human rights violations and impunity under the former administration. Bayan Muna Party List Representative Neri Colmenares and Makabayan Party Chairman and former Congressman Satur Ocampo were among the invited speakers during the said conference.
Likewise, on January 19, 2023, CERNET issued a statement published on the Council for People’s Development and Government (CPDG) website for the immediate resurfacing of two union organizers, April Dyan Gumanao and Armand Jake Dayoha. Gumanao is a staff of CERNET and is active with the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Region VII Union. At the same time, Dayoha serves as the coordinator of the Alliance of Health Workers-Cebu Chapter. They are both development workers – working with support services NGO CERNET. KARAPATAN -Central Visayas and BAYAN-Central Visayas also condemned the alleged state-sponsored enforced disappearances of Gumanao and Dayoha.
Last September 21 of this year, CERNET also released a statement condemning state forces’ alleged persecution of the group and its staff members, which began in 2008 when false charges were filed against its Executive Director and Finance Officer. The said NGO also claimed that the group is also a victim of red-tagging by the state security forces affiliated with the NTF-ELCAC. And recently, the group sought the dismissal of the terrorism case against its 27 former council members, board members, staff, and a member of a partner organization filed by the AFP Visayas Command.
“Let us be clear: this is not red tagging; it is truth-tagging. CERNET and the CPP-NPA-NDF are part of the same group with one evil goal of overthrowing our government,” MGen Sison concluded.