Bayan Muna hits DSWD for ‘Knowing the Enemy’ seminars

Bonz Magsambol
Bayan Muna hits DSWD for ‘Knowing the Enemy’ seminars
'This is clearly made to vilify and red tag critics of the administration and in preparation for a terror law induced massive crackdown,' says Bayan Muna

Party-list group Bayan Muna on Wednesday, July 15, hit the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) over its order to train its personnel in ‘Knowing the Enemy’ to be conducted by the National Task Force on Ending Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

In the department order obtained by Rappler, the DSWD sent the invitation to its offices, bureaus, services, and units on July 9. It was signed by DSWD Undersecretary Rene Glen Paje.

“The NTF-ELCAC is conducting a series of webinars for the Knowing the Enemy (KTE) Training over a period of four weeks, starting this week. There will be a total of 10 sessions,” the order said.

The training started July 7 and would run through July 28.

DSWD Spokesperson Irene Dumlao confirmed the order in a Viber message to Rappler. “Good pm. Activity ito for DSWD personnel po (This is an activity for DSWD personnel),” Dumlao said.

DSWD order obtained by Rappler
‘Made to vilify critics’

In a joint statement sent to media, Bayan Muna lawmakers House Deputy Minority leader Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate and Representative Eufemia Cullamat slammed the DSWD, saying the training was a “preparation for intensified crackdown of the opposition and admin critics under the Terror law.”

“This is clearly made to vilify and red tag critics of the administration and in preparation for a terror law induced massive crackdown. We will file a resolution to probe this waste of people’s time and money in this period of grave crisis aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Zarate.

For Cullamat, the DSWD should focus on distributing cash aid to poor Filipinos, instead of prioritizing such kind of activity, which kills people’s rights.

“Klaro na hindi prayoridad ng DSWD na tulungan ang mga biktima ng COVID-19 lalo na sa hanay ng mga katutubo at magsasaka. Madami nang gutom at nawalan ng trabaho sa panahon ngayon dahil sa pandemya. Dapat i-pokus muna nila ang pamimigay ng mga SAP sa mga hindi na bigyan noong unang tranche,” Cullamat said.

(It’s clear that the priority of the DSWD is not to help the victims of COVID-19, especially those affected indigenous people and farmers. There are a lot of Filipinos who are hungry and have lost livelihood due to the pandemic. They should focus on giving the SAP [social amelioration program] to those who haven’t received the first tranche yet.)

In the middle of the pandemic, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the anti-terror law giving the government more powers to act against persons or groups falling under what critics said was a dangerous and vague definition of terrorism.

Business groups, legal experts, human rights groups, journalists, and universities denounced the law and urged lawmakers to reconsider it. – With a report from Michelle Abad/

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.