Soldiers in NegOcc recover copies of NPA extortion letter
BACOLOD CITY – Troopers of the Philippine Army’s 15th Infantry Battalion recovered copies of the extortion letter being sent by the New People’s Army (NPA) to construction companies in Negros Island.
These were among the items seized by the soldiers following their encounter with a group of communist rebels at Sitio Bunga, Barangay Salong in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental late Tuesday afternoon.
A copy of the letter provided by the 303rd Infantry Brigade (IB) showed it has the letterhead of the NPA’s Apolinario Gatmaitan Command based in Negros Island. Dated March 12, 2019, the letter was allegedly signed by Armando Magbanua of the Regional Taxation Group.
Col. Benedict Arevalo, commander of 303IB, said on Wednesday the recovery of the extortion letters shows that the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front is indeed an extortionist terrorist organization.
“The regular NPA rebels do the difficult and dirty work in the countryside while their leaders and political officers are enjoying the fruits of their extortion activities, living luxuriously and comfortably in the cities,” Arevalo added.
Part of the extortion letter states the NPA’s so-called People’s Democratic Government (PDG) “exercises its right to impose taxes on properties, business operations, and revenues, among others within its territory.”
“Adherence to revolutionary taxation has corresponding privileges and concessions set by the PDG. Resources collected from revolutionary taxes augment the funds of the PDG intended for its social services and other programs of the revolutionary government,” it added.
Also, the letter includes a threat of “enforced sanctions detrimental to (the) business operation” if the recipient will not “discuss and settle” their supposed “tax obligations.”
Previous reports showed the NPA has resorted to attacking and destroying civilian targets aimed at pressuring businesses to pay revolutionary taxes.
Col. Noel Detoyato, public affairs office chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, earlier said the burning spree of heavy equipment perpetrated by the Communist Party of the Philippine -New People’s Army is meant to continue with their terrorism plans and to pressure the companies to give in to their extortion demands. (PNA / )