Formation of a new paramilitary unit

Human rights organizations, the Philippine National Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and members of the Senate and House of Representatives are concerned about the new formation of the Global Coalition of Lingkod Bayan Advocacy Support Groups and Force Multipliers (Lingkod Bayan means public service). On June 25, Rodrigo Duterte announced that the coalition, formed by the Philippine National Police (PNP), shell „complement the efforts of various law enforcement units in the fight against illegal drugs, insurgency and terrorism.“ The coalition is composed of 11 local and international organizations through which the PNP, as a member of the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), intends to mobilize volunteers to primarily pursue the NTF-ELCAC’s counterinsurgency objectives. Its controversial spokesman Antonio Parlade resigned in June 2021 after facing increased criticism for red-tagging. Arlene Brosas, a member of the House of Representatives, is calling for more consequences for Parlade, saying his career has been marked by corruption and human rights abuses. 

Fears that civilians will be armed and that vigilant groups will emerge are not unfounded. For example, Duterte said, “if you have this coalition, you have a list of people who are there and who can arm themselves. I will order the police. If you are qualified, get a gun and help us enforce the laws.” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia points out that the constitution only allows for one police force, and that “arming civilians without proper training, qualification, and clear lines of accountabilities may lead to lawlessness and proliferation of arms, which may further negatively impact the human rights situation in the country.“ 

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