AMLC files "terrorism financing" case against development organization in Leyte and its leader

This article is available in Pilipino

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) ordered banks to freeze the accounts of the Leyte Center for Development, Inc. (LCDe) and its leader Ms. Jazmin Jerusalem on April 26 on charges of “terrorism financing.” Banks officially imposed the freeze order on these accounts on May 2.

The Citizens’ Disaster Response Network (CDRN), a partner of LCDe, condemned the AMLC’s arbitrary order. “The AMLC resolution unfairly and maliciously accuses such accounts of ‘terrorist financing’,” according to the CDRN statement.

It says the damage resulting from the freezing of LCDe’s bank account is tremendous because it is equivalent to suspending the services the institution provides to more than one million poor families who do not receive services from the government in Eastern Visayas.

This is not the first time that Jerusalem and the LCDe have experienced such attacks, according to the group. In September 2021, the military organized a “rally” against the LCDe in front of its office. CDRN explained, LCDe is a legitimate organization registered with the SEC since 1998.

“For 36 years, LCDe has been at the forefront of implementing rapid response and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management programs in Eastern Visayas, serving vulnerable sectors,” according to CDRN. In fact, LCDe has received numerous accolades from private and government institutions and agencies over the past decades for its excellence.

CDRN and LCDe maintain that serving as development workers is not terrorism. The CDRN demanded that the LCDe accounts, including the personal accounts of its members, should be restored immediately. They also urged the Filipino people and their development partners to join them in the fight to defend the social space.

Freezing of accounts has become a widespread military tactic in recent years to paralyze the services of development institutions, progressive and activist groups. “Terrorism financing” is usually related to the charge of “terrorism” under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. This past month, at least seven others were charged with “terrorism financing” in Quezon and Negros Island.

AB: AMLC files "terrorism financing" case against development organization in Leyte and its leader