EU ENVOY: Zero funding for Philippine communist rebels

EU

NO FUNDING FOR CPP-NPA. Outgoing European Union (EU) Ambassador Franz Jessen speaks to reporters during a breakfast meeting in Makati on Tuesday (Aug. 27, 2019). Jessen said no funding from the EU has been spent on any communist activities. (Photo by EU Delegation in Manila)

No funding from the European Union (EU) has been spent on any communist activities, EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen said Tuesday as he stressed the existing terrorist tag on the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its military arm, the New People’s Army (NPA).

npa

Last April, the delegation commissioned a firm for a financial audit on some EU contracts being questioned by the government for links to the CPP-NPA and its alleged front organizations.
Updating the media, Jessen said the firm was not able to identify any irregular or “awkward” expenditure on the part of the groups they finance.
“We asked them to review the expenditure and see if they could find anything that looked awkward and they couldn’t,” he said in a press briefing in Makati.
“So I think in terms of spending we are fine. In terms of objective, the government and us, we share completely the same objective — we don’t want to support an organization where we would be violating our own legal framework,” he added.
The envoy pointed out that the EU has several requirements before funding a non-government organization and, at the same time, conducts regular financing check.
“If we were, in any way or form, seen as supporting the CPP, we will be violating the EU legislation on terrorists. Therefore, it should be very clear to everybody that we would never do that because we would be going against our institution, our legal framework,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jessen said the bloc continues to engage with the Philippine government for further clarification, also citing their past dialogues as “constructive”.
“They’re providing new information to us which is always helpful and whenever we do get new information, we look into it and we verify,” he said.
Aside from the EU, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines listed the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization.
READ: In-depth probe of CPP’s EU funding vowed
In March, the Philippine government urged the European Union to stop funding local organizations in the country allegedly linked to the CPP-NPA. Included in this group was the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines.
Documents obtained by the Armed Forces of the Philippines earlier revealed that EU has reportedly released its first tranche of more than 621,000 Euros (PHP36,663,840) to the said group and is expected to release 1.3 million Euros (PHP76,752,000) this year until the Philippine government flagged them. 

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