No EU funding for NGOs with communist links – envoy

EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen | Philstar.com photo

No funding has been provided by the European Union (EU) to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) supposedly serving as fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen said Tuesday, August 27.

He cited a series of audits on EU’s contracts with NGOs flagged by the Philippine government as “potentially questionable” showing that the funds were not given to groups with alleged communist links. 

A standard review of expenses and a “specialized audit” aimed at detecting the financing of terrorist organizations were also included in the audits.

When asked about the results of the audit, Jessen responded: “In terms of spending we are fine… We asked them [specialized auditing company] to look into the expenditures and see if they could find anything that looked awkward and they couldn’t.”

This comes following the Philippines’ claim back in February that donations of the EU have found their way into the hands of alleged fronts of the CPP-New People’s Army, which prompted a review on the EU’s end.

According to Jessen, the audit was conducted on the EU’s 10 contracts it financed yearly with NGOs like the United Nations Development Programme and University of Tawi-Tawi.

He also said that there would be future funding for the contracts worth around 10 million euros yearly.

Jessen gave reassurance to the Philippine government that the EU would not support the CPP in “any way or form” as it had been included in its list of foreign terrorist organizations since 2005.

“From the outset, it should be very clear to everybody that we would never do that because we would be going against our institution, our own legal framework,” he said.

“We share the same objective: we don’t want to support a terrorist organization. We’d be violating our own government and we’d be going against what the Philippine government is looking for. So obviously this is not what we are doing and not what we want to do,” Jessen added.

Apart from the EU, the Belgian Foreign Ministry was also asked by the Philippines to cut funding for groups that the Philippine military alleged were CPP-NPA fronts such as the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, Ibon Foundation, Karapatan, and Alcadev (Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development), among others. 

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