MANILA, Philippines—The military said on Thursday that communist insurgents in Eastern Samar have been demanding as much as P1 million in campaign fee from each of the gubernatorial candidates to allow them to campaign in “red” or communist rebel-infiltrated areas.
Col. Arnulfo Burgos, the AFP spokesperson, said in an interview that the demand for campaign fees was a clear case of extortion by the New People’s Army (NPA).
“This is clearly a form of extortion violating our laws. That is why we are asking our candidates not to give in to the demands of the NPA,” Burgos said.
Burgos added that the military was able to gather evidence against the communist insurgents after troops recovered documents pertaining to the campaign fees in NPA camps they overran recently.
Burgos said that the demand made to candidates for vice governor was P500,000 each.
Burgos said the military’s tack has been “to engage with the local government units as well as businessmen to appeal to them to cooperate with the military.”
“We want to help them so we can secure them too,” Burgos said.