CAMP EVANGELISTA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) revealed the detailed methods and tactics of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) in their extortion activities, and asked the LGUs, politicians and would-be candidates to stop “contributing” to the war chest of the communist rebels.
In a press conference with officers of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club e3arly this week, Major General Andres C. Centino, Commander of 4th Infantry Division and Joint Task Force-Diamond, bared that based on seized documents and also revelations of arrested rebels, the NPA has been undertaking two kinds of extortion: its regular extortion or Rebolusyonaryong Buwis sa Kaaway na Uri (RBKU) and its Permit-to-Campaign (PTC) and Permit-to-Win (PTW) fees for the election of national, and LGU officials.
The AFP-CRS in its report, explained that the RBKU is the NPA’s principal means of financial and logistical procurement. Guidelines for the NPA’s fund-raising pursuits are issued by the CPP's Executive Committee. In their "modus operandi" in exacting RBKU, the NPA first identifies, through its local unit, its potential target, and then investigates them on their income for accurate computation of taxes.
The NPA extortionists predetermine the minimum and maximum amount to be paid by the target. During negotiations, armed NPAs are usually in attendance to pressure the target to yield, added the report of AFP-CRS.
Gen. Centino also said their (NPA) targets also include agro-industrial firms, mining companies, bus operators, construction companies undertaking government projects, and even small businesses such as sari-sari store owners.
According to Centino, the standard rates are six to seven percent of the gross income for logging operators; one to two million pesos for bus companies; for big ranch proprietors, the NPA’s annual collection is based on every cow head; for agricultural landowners, the NPA’s collection depends on the hectares owned, such as 20-25 percent of net income for 151 hectares or more.
Payments have to be in 100- or 1,000-peso bills, while small bills, checks and real properties are not accepted.
“The target may substitute monetary payment with a computer unit or high-powered firearms, cellphones, medicines and equipment, among others. For long-term targets, re-negotiations are conducted after a year; and an annual increase is imposed,” the AFP-CRS said, adding that the collected fees are immediately remitted to the NPA’s higher organ where 80 percent of it is forwarded to the NPA’s National Finance Committee (NFC) while the remaining 20 percent is retained by the lower organs. Highest collecting rate for 2009 came from the business establishments with P42.2 million, followed by logging concessionaires with P28.7 million.
AFP-CRS said that in its policy, the NPA metes out punishment to those who refuse to pay and to those who renege on their payments. In 2009, the NPA attacked at least 61 business establishments with an estimated P103 million in damages for non-payment of extortion fees.
“The NPA is not selective of its victims for as long as it can exploit their vulnerabilities. By extorting from the simple farmers and workers, obstructing aid and progress, the NPA is further impoverishing poor households and villages,"
It was during the 10th Plenum of the CPP Central Committee in 1991 that the CPP saw the potential to exploit election season through the imposition of “Permit-to-Campaign” fees or otherwise referred to as access permits or Campaign Access Fee (CAF).
The NPA began collecting PTCs during the 1992 national elections. In the last three national elections, the NPA was estimated to have amassed a conservative estimate of P93.8 million.
The going rate is from P5,000 to P20 million from municipal councilor to president. The rates may vary in different regions and depending on the candidate’s affinity to the CPP-NPA movement. CPP-NPA allies are exempted from payment.
In 2004, the NPA upgraded to Permit-to-Win (PTW) fees wherein they guaranteed votes of CPP-NPA sympathizers.
As the NPA punishes those who refuse their extortion demands, the same punishments are meted out to politicians who ignore their PTCs and PTWs.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Human Rights issued an advisory on February 25, 2010 condemning the NPA’s PTCs and PTWs as “repugnant in all possible ways to valued human rights principles and standards, not only of candidates and political parties, but of the individual voters as well.”
Extortion is a criminal offense under the Revised Penal Code Articles 294, 295, 296, 299, 300, 301, and 302. The documents show the NPA price for local candidates ranged between P150,000 and P1 million.
“Our deterrence efforts against NPA extortion, however, proved more effective when residents tip us of NPAs presence and when companies or local politicians inform us of their extortion letters and harassments. We urge the people to help us mitigate NPA extortion and harassments by reporting to law enforcers these incidents because if they choose to pay, the more that this will embolden the NPAs to extort and the more that harassments will continue,” the AFP said.
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