DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 January) — President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to cancel the permits of mining companies that are paying “revolutionary taxes” to the New People’s Army (NPA).
“Pero ‘pag nahuli ko kayo (but if I find out), I will give you hell of a time,” Duterte said upon arrival from a two-day visit in India early Saturday at the Davao International Airport.
Duterte said the money collected by the NPA from these companies is used to fund the operations of an organization that seeks to destroy the country.
The President said he does not take as an excuse the alleged lack of security since the companies can hire jobless people as security guards to protect their operations from potential threats.
“Karami diyan Pilipino walang trabaho. Diyan sa city jail mamili ka diyan. Pa-eskapuhin ko ‘yan (There are so many unemployed Filipinos. You can choose anyone there at the city jail. I will let them escape,” he said, in jest. “Gawain mong CAFGU (You can turn them into CAFGU).”
Duterte said his order to the military is to destroy the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
“The order is to crush. A synonym of that is destroy. And a collateral of that sentence is you destroy. And if you have to kill, do it because the human rights, kung babagsak itong bayan na ‘to, walang maitulong sa atin ‘yan (if the nation will fall, that can’t help us),” Duterte said.
The CPP-NPA, under Duterte’s Proclamation No. 374, has been designated/identified terrorist organization pursuant to Republic Act No. 10168, also known as the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2002.
The law states, “It is the policy of the State to protect life, liberty, and property from acts of terrorism, to condemn terrorism and those who support and finance it and to recognize it as inimical and dangerous to the national security of the country and the welfare of the people, and to make financing of terrorism a crime against the Filipino people, against humanity, and against the law of nations.”
The proclamation added that the law “criminalizes the financing of terrorism and dealing with property or funds of designated persons/organizations, and prevents and suppresses the commission of said offenses through freezing and forfeiture of the property or funds of said designations persons/organizations, among others.
Lt. Gen. Benjamn Madrigal, chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) told the Mindanao Business Briefing last Tuesday at the Seda Hotel that some P2.48 billion had been lost to alleged extortion activities and NPA attacks.
Madrigal said at least P1.48 billion of which came from extorting mining and agricultural companies in Eastern Mindanao, covering Davao Region (Davao del Norte, del Sur, Oriental and Occidental), Caraga (Surigao del Norte and del Sur, Agusan del Norte and del Sur, and Dinagat Islands), and parts of Region 12 or Soccksargen and Northern Mindanao while the P1 billion came mostly from the damages incurred due to the burning of the box plant of the Lorenzo family-owned Lapanday Foods Corporation in Mandug, this city, by the New People’s Army (NPA) on April 29, 2017.
With P1.48 billion, he said the NPA could buy 23,333 AK47 rifles or 31.1 million rounds of ammunition.
Madrigal urged the businesses sector to stop giving in to the demands of the NPA because they only worsen the insurgency problem by funding their operations with the so-called revolutionary taxes.
“They (NPA) will continue to ask if some will continue to provide also,” he added, maintaining that they intend to clip recruitment of new NPA members by deploying more security forces in communities where there are reported extortion activities.
He assured they would strengthen military presence in conflict-affected and resources-rich areas to put a dent on extortion activities. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)