Accused of financing terrorism

TACLOBAN CITY– The German Embassy in the country has called on the Philippine government to conduct a ‘quick review’ relative to the freezing of the accounts of a local nongovernment organization.

In a statement dated May 27, the German Embassy in Manila said that the freezing of the accounts of the Leyte Center for Development (LCDe) has affected their efforts to helping poor in communities in Eastern Visayas.

“The recent freezing of the accounts of the LCDe by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) including the private accounts of the founder of the NGO, Ms. Jazmin Jerusalem and her family, are detriment to our efforts to improve the living conditions of the beneficiaries in poor and marginalized regions of Samar and Leyte,” it said.

“We expect the quick review of the freezing in order to allow the NGO to continue their work,” the statement added.

Jerusalem extended her gratitude to the German embassy for their statement seeking for a possible unfreezing of their accounts.

“I am very thankful to the German Ambassador to the Philippines and his staff for trusting and supporting us, and acknowledging LCDe as partners in the effort to aid poor communities with livelihood in these difficult times,” she told the Inquirer Friday (May 31).
She hope that this statement of support by the German embassy would convince the AMLC to unfreeze their accounts for them to continue their works in remote and depressed communities in the region.

It was learned that the German Embassy is one of the funders of the LCDe, a NGO based in Palo, Leyte extending assistance to poor far-flung communities in Leyte and Samar provinces, especially during the onslaught of Super Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ in 2013.

Last January 18 of this year, Ambassador Andreas Pfaffernoschke visited the town of Marabut, Samar to personally turn over a rice mill to a group of farmers in the said town.

The embassy said that Ambassador Pfaffernoschke, during his visit to Marabut, was happy to personally learn on the ‘positive impact’ the rice mill they donated to the local farmers as it help them process their harvest more cost efficiently and thus, increase their income.

It described LCDe as a ‘reliable partner’ in the implementation of said project.

“Through its small-scale development projects with local partner organization, the German Embassy aims to directly improve the quality of life of indigent and marginalized people on issues related to education, livelihood, women and children, agriculture, education, health, and the environment,” the embassy said.

To recall, the AMLC froze the accounts of the LCDe citing ‘financing terrorism’ as the reason with Jerusalem discovering it on May 2 as she was to withdraw from a bank here in Tacloban.

Jerusalem, in a press conference on May 16, said that their LCDe accounts contained around P2 million received from their funders.

The freezing of their accounts have paralyzed their operations.

The LCDe is been in operations for 36 years but during the Duterte administration was ‘red tagged’ as a front of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army(CPP-NPA), a claim it strongly denies.