THE Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division appealed to the business community to stand their ground against extortion demands allegedly perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA).
The military issued the call following reports that the NPA’s Komiteng Rehiyon Panay (KR-P) has been sending letters asking for the so-called revolutionary tax to businessmen, particularly those in the construction and power and telecommunication industries.
Captain Eduardo Precioso Jr., chief of the 3ID Division Public Affairs Office, confirmed that a number of businesses already received the letters from the NPA.
Precioso said they also received reports that some of the letter recipients gave in to the rebels’ demands.
“Unfortunately, some of them (businesses) are not cooperative,” he lamented.
The rebel group allegedly warned the recipients against reporting their demands to the police and the military.
“Had we been informed, we could have made ways to stop this illegal activity from going on. The extortion demand would not stop if they would give in. It would just open the floodgates for more monetary demands,” Precioso said.
He also stressed every penny contributed to NPA’s coffers would mean helping the insurgents go after government troops and curtailing development projects, especially in the countryside.
The 3ID renewed its call against alleged extortion demands by the NPA Major General Jon Aying, as 3ID commander, visited Palm Concepcion Power Corp.’s (PCPC) coal-fired power plant in Sitio Puntales, Barangay Nipa, Concepcion, Iloilo on July 20, 2017.
PCPC is one of the most advanced and fuel-efficient coal-fired power plants in the Philippines. The 135-megawatt power plant is seen to address the increasing electricity needs in Visayan Island.
Its aim is to significantly improve power quality, security, reliability and costs improving the socio-economic activities thus, increasing the economic output and improving the social development in the regions.
Precioso said NPA bandits are targeting power plants in their alleged extortion modus and even threatened to sabotage PCPC’s installations if they will not succumb.
He added that the rebels alleged demanded millions of pesos to spare the company from sabotage.
“The extortion money that will be collected will be used to procure armaments, bomb components and eventually expand their terroristic activities in the region thereby increasing their extortion activities in the area,” he added.
Precioso said that power-generating companies cannot afford to put vital installations at risk since the economic activities and eventually the economic development in the region are at stake.
“It is clear to all of us that the communist-terrorist NPA is anti-development and they are no different from any terrorists in the country or from any other country,” he added.
Meanwhile, Precioso also confirmed the veracity of the alleged extortion letter from the NPA’s Napoleon Tumagtang Command-Southern Front Panay.
Part of the letter reads, “Ang NPA, bilang tunay nga kangaway sang pumuluyong Pilipino amo ang sini, KAMI, sa Napoleon Tumagtang Command, NPA Souther Front Panay, naga-agda sa inyo kompanya sa isa ka pagsugilanon agud mahambalanm ang mga bagay natuhoy sa ongoing operation sang inyo negosyo/proyekto sa teritoryo sang rebolusyonaryong gubyerno sang pumuluyo.”
The rebel group also warned businesses against reporting to the AFP/PNP.
The letter was signed by a certain Ariston Remus.
Several businessmen in Antique already received the letter, according to the Army.
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