NPA on poll fees: No old shoes, please, but guns OK

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SOMEWHERE IN THE CORDILLERA—For years during the election season, receiving free meals for the community at a rally or guns and bullets from provincial candidates has been accepted in exchange for a permit to campaign in areas controlled by the communist New People’s Army (NPA).

But canned goods and worn-out pairs of shoes?

The government calls the practice “extortion,” but the NPA unit operating in Abra says it is more offended by politicians who “give so little respect to these permits-to-campaign (PTCs).”

“There are those who give canned goods … and then they make it appear as a donation [to the rebels], like relief goods. It is insulting to the revolutionary movement,” Diego Wadagan, spokesman of the NPA’s Agustin Begnalen Command, said in a recent interview.

“Here is one of the weirdest and insulting, so far—a few pairs of used shoes. It’s like [the NPA unit was] a flood victim [who] needed relief goods. Relief goods are donated by charitable people and not by a politician who needs to recognize our political authority as an emerging state or government,” he said.

Acceptable

Fees acceptable to the rebels in exchange for the PTC would vary from cash and food to mobile telephones, computers and guns, said Simon Naogsan, spokesman of the Cordillera Peoples Democratic Front, which serves as the political arm of the NPA in the Cordillera.

In 2007, the fees that the NPA collected from Cordillera politicians amounted to P500,000, said Naogsan, who is also known as “Ka Filiw.” The cash collections pay for the administrative operations of the NPA, as well as for the training of farmers, he said.

Wadagan said the PTC fee was similar to the revolutionary tax that rebels were collecting from companies and businesses that operate in NPA-controlled areas.

Reached on April 3 in Bangued, Abra, Senior Supt. Benjamin Lusad, Abra police director, said he and his men had been on alert for PTC transactions between candidates and rebels.

Police monitoring

“Our local police are monitoring these activities in the province. But of course these activities are not allowed and must be stopped,” Lusad said.

The Cordillera police are closely watching 134 upland villages in the region which are characterized as “NPA-influenced.”

Wadagan said the rebels were operating through the Chadli Molintas Command in Abra, the Lejo Cawilan Command in Kalinga, the Leonardo Pacsi Command in Mt. Province, the Jennifer Cariño Command in Benguet, the Alfredo Cesar Command in Ilocos Sur and the Nona del Rosario Command in Ifugao.

The rebels also operate guerrilla fronts: the Procopio Tauro Front in north Abra, the Marcial Daggay Front in northwest Kalinga, and the Saulo Lumadao Front in south central Abra.

According to Wadagan, it has never been difficult for rebels and politicians to negotiate for access into rebel-controlled villages.

Political authority

“But what has been hard is to make them understand and recognize our political authority,” he said because some politicians these days viewed the transactions as bribes or donations to the rebels.

Stressing that the rebels conduct comprehensive investigations of candidates, Wadagan said his group had allowed politicians, who do not have the resources, to conduct campaigns in far-flung areas.

“[Some small-town mayors] don’t have money. … If they offer to feed a group of farmers who are going to hold an assembly, that is fine with us. It does not have to be in cash; the important thing is they recognize our political authority,” he said.

The PTC is not a business deal and the NPA may exclude people no matter how much they are willing to pay to enter rebel areas, Wadagan said.

“If, for example, [fugitive and retired Maj. Gen.] Jovito Palparan decides to run, of course, we cannot allow him to campaign just because he is going to pay. Our point is, this is just not only about paying. It’s also about the issue of eligibility,” he said.

Submitting to the NPA authority means following certain guidelines, among them a prohibition against bringing along armed bodyguards except for a personal security aide, Wadagan said.

“Tutal, pumasok naman kayo sa area namin, kami na ang bahala sa security ninyo (You entered our area after all, so we will take care of your security),” he said.

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  • http://www.yellowmythbusters.gov.ph/ Weder-Weder Lang

    At least the NPA are not extorting the gov’t for luxury items.

    Si PNoy and his family, they’re trying to extort 10 billion pesos from the government for Hacienda Luisita compensation, which they stole from peasant farmers. Besides, the money used to buy the land for Hacienda Luisita came from GSIS. The NPAs pale in comparison.

    Iba talaga ang white-collar crimes sa Pinas.

    • zandro santos

      At least the NPA are not extorting for luxury items. They are extorting for terrorism!

  • diamond_digger

    These people are not any better than bandits and robbers. And they have the gall to claim that their political authority is an emerging state or government. Are you nuts? Twenty five long years ago, I fantasize about joining your movements until I learned that you even killed the person who approached me. At the present time, only North Korea is living up to its name as a communist state headed by one I presumed is worst than the anti-Christ. And here in the Philippines, the NPAs is but a group of Barrabas all out to take advantage of the people they claimed to protect. Yes, you’re ideologues. . . of satan.

  • UrHONOR

    CANNED goods are good but we need cash!

    • Karabkatab

      Too much canned goods will cause balls scale and itching. The comrades don’t want that.

  • MULEN

    This is the reason why the operations of the NPA this year are focused on soft targets, i.e. civilians, politicians and big businesses: collection of extortion money to help finance the candidacies of leftist candidates. And they’re employing whatever means they deem necessary to achieve that goal: 8 civilians killed in cold blood in La Castillana, Negros, Occidental; raid in Del Monte, Bukidnon which resulted to the death of a civilian guard and injury to two others; strafing of civilians while they were holding procession in celebration of the holy week in Agusan and the killing of two unarmed barangay tanod in the process. Pera pera lang naman talaga ang habol ng mga tamad at walang silbi sa lipunan na mga salot na ito. Kaya kung makikita at maririnig ninyo ang political ads ni Teddy Casiño at ng iba pang makakaliwa sa TV at radio, isipin ninyo ang buhay ng ordinaryong mamamayan na ibinuwis ng mga salot na ito.

    • Hardkorero

      FYI…. Special Forces ang pumatay sa dalawang CAFGU na yun sa Agusan… Lugar ko yun, Ala NPA dun…

      • shane oy

        how sure are you na walang npa dun?

      • http://twitter.com/alfs_alfs Pons Corpuz

        how sure are you na Special Forces ang pumatay??

      • Hardkorero

        Kapitbahy ko si Ariel yung CAFGU na napatay. itanung nyu sa mga nag prosisyon.

      • otire

        marahil ikaw pa nag bigay tip sa mga NPA kung paano ma liquidate ang kapitbahay mo. Special Forces daw? Special Forces nang NPA..

      • zandro santos

        napakadaling i-type na kapitbahay ko si blah blah blah. Patunayan mo!

      • otire

        bakit ikaw bay aamin na NPA ka din?

      • Hardkorero

        Bitter….Pag nagsabi ba ng totoo NPA na gad…

      • otire

        ok marahil supporter ka lang….

      • zandro santos

        Tinatanong ka lang kung NPA ka. Tingnan mo oh! May question mark. Napakadefensive mo.

      • http://twitter.com/alfs_alfs Pons Corpuz

        Following your logic. kapag Cafgu ba pinatay, Speacial Forces na agad ang pumapay?

  • mangtom

    These NPA parasites are a bunch of lazy goons preying on the hardworking and law abiding citizens. They are extortionsts disguised as advocates of the downtrodden. Something like the type of Estrada, the convicted plunderer. They don’t believe in working. What is easier to make money than intimidating and threatening someone? You NPA’s are low lives and subhuman. Go to work, you bast@rds.

  • DinngMae

    People, of course, will see the permit to campaign as mere extortion or banditry. The same kind of people who are ignorant of the country’s political reality and their nonacceptance of the government’s failure to address the root cause of insurgency.

    This kind of people would rather be entertained and fooled by politicians but dismissive to the fact that it is the continuing poverty that spawned and strengthened the rebel movement, something which the incumbent politicians — yes, the same politicians — who were responsible for it.

    It’s kind of hilarious and ironic that people would curse the rebels and at the same time vote for politicians who are feeding and sustaining the former’s existence.

    • MULEN

      Yeah, it’s the same rebels who are extorting permit to win from the same corrupt politicians and who employ terror tactics to intimidate hapless civilians into giving in to their extortion demands. In fact, on this day alone, several civilians in Libona, Bukidnon were wounded when a group of NPAs strafed a company vehicle of a pineapple plantation while ferrying workers. This is on top of simultaneous attacks conducted by the NPA today on soft targets, meaning civilians and civilian infrastructures, in other parts of Northern Mindanao. Yes, the NPAs have resorted to banditry and brigandage and the communist ideology has become a convenient and pathetic cover-up to lend credence to their useless and irrelevant existence.

      • DinngMae

        That’s already given. Similar things happen from north to south of the country and worse is yet to come.

        Ironically, people vote for politicians who give the reason for these rebels to exist. People vote for politicians who contribute to the problem instead of providing the solution.

        You can whine all day and nothing will happen. You can call them whatever you like. Despise them to high heavens but at the end of the day the grim reality of their existence continue. Why? The answer lies on the second paragraph.

      • zandro santos

        You’re wrong! Their existence will come to an end. Buhay ka pa at masasaksihan mo ang pagkawala nila.

        Believing that the NPA will continue to exist is like believing that a 100 year old man could live another hundred years nowadays.

      • DinngMae

        I hope I am wrong but your ignorance of the rebel movement shows me you know nothing. It is easy to claim that “their existence will come to an end” but all indications point to the contrary. Your analogy isn’t even applicable to the NPA.

        Telling me that I was wrong without offering a viable argument against my reason why the NPA continue to exist makes your position unsustainable.

      • Mux

        Are you actually saying that the NPA exists to help the poor? Tell me then what has the NPA done to support and help the people? Show me an example of what they have done. They are nothing but a bunch of terrorists who extort money not just from politicians but also from honest businessmen for “protection”. They are just like kotong cops. Nothing but CORRUPT!

      • $44479964

        Actually, they do especially in far-flung areas beyond the reach of government services.

      • Mux

        Example please

      • DinngMae

        Read carefully and thoroughly so you would understand what I wrote.

      • Mux

        You said that: Ironically, people vote for politicians who give the reason for these rebels to exist.

        The root cause of the insurgency is poverty. So in effect, people think that the NPA will help alleviate them of their poverty. I ask, what has the NPA done all these years to help alleviate poverty?

      • DinngMae

        That’s what I’m talking about — people who voted for politicians who were part of the problem.

        I didn’t discuss poverty alleviation programs of the rebels.

      • Mux

        Ok, maybe I am misunderstanding you. In your opinion, what is the root cause of the insurgency?

      • DinngMae

        Poverty as you said.

      • Mux

        Agreed. So you said that the politicians give these rebels to exist, but these rebels have done absolutely nothing to reduce poverty. They are greedy extortionists.

      • DinngMae

        That’s what the government, particularly the AFP, said too. Don’t you wonder if they are “greedy extortionists” and done “absolutely nothing” they were able to exist for more than 40 years? Perhaps, there is more than what meets the eye.

      • Mux

        Like what?

      • DinngMae

        This is not the proper forum to discuss such things. I suggest you do a research yourself.

      • Mux

        What do you mean this is not the forum? This is exactly the forum. The article is about the NPA extorting money from politicians to campaign.

      • DinngMae

        This is a reader’s commentary column and not a forum. There are forum websites appropriate in discussing extensive political and economic issues.

      • Mux

        Did you just run out of things to say?

      • DinngMae

        Did you fail to comprehend my previous post?

      • Mux

        I did, but not agree with it. We can discuss the issue here. If not, our posts would have been deleted by the moderator by now and we would have been warned.

      • DinngMae

        You are old enough to educate yourself on this kind of issue. Knowing things is your responsibility.

      • Mux

        Then why even post here? Why don’t you just admit that the NPA is nothing but a group of bandits who extort protection money in the guise of “rebellion” or “insurgency”. They are the worst form of capitalist because they prey on innocent citizens who make an honest living. They have done NOTHING absolutely NOTHING to help society.

      • DinngMae

        Why do you also post here? What right do you have to tell me what to do or not to do?

        “Worst form of capitalist”? Hahaha. Go and tell your mom about it.

      • Mux

        I did tell my mom and she agrees with me. :) So does my dad.

      • DinngMae

        Good boy. Now sit.

      • Mux

        Do I at least get a bone?

      • DinngMae

        Say “meooow” before I give you a fish bone.

      • Mux

        Di bale na, I’ll join the NPA nalang so I can extort money from rich businessmen and politicians. haha.

      • DinngMae

        Don’t join them. The government hates competition.

      • Mux

        Haha. Now we agree. :)

      • zandro santos

        What are these indications that you said point the contrary? Can you support your statement “your ignorance of the rebel movement shows me you know nothing”?

      • DinngMae

        It would be better if you can review past news items concerning attacks against foreign companies and other installations. Mindanao had been badly hit. You can also check police records, documents from local government units, and even interview knowledgeable persons.

      • zandro santos

        Yung attacks ng NPA sa Dole at Del Monte at abductions ba ang tinutukoy mo? Those small-scale attacks and ambuscades? Yun ba? Those attacks were nothing compared to the attacks made by the NPAs years ago especially in the mid 1980’s. NPAs are now focusing on soft targets like foreign companies, CAFGUS, isolated military outpost and even civilian eh dati naman wala silang takot na makipagbakbakan kahit sa isang batalyon ng army. Where are the NPAs of Quezon which used to be a hotbed of insurgency? where are the NPAs in Cebu? In Bohol? In Leyte? I’ve never heard of the NPAs in those places in the past years. what about in Samar and Bicol? Dati halos araw-araw may major operations ang NPAs dun, ano nang nangyari?

        It probably hurts for some but let’s face the reality. Makikita naman sa trend – the NPA is a dying force. The ideology is dead, and soon its banditry. It seems irreversible. Well, miracles can happen. Magdasal ka nalang na hindi sila tuluyang maglaho. Kung mamimiss mo NPA, pwede mo naman bisitahin sa history books.

      • DinngMae

        I think you should open your books and study what ideology is all about. You know nothing about it.

  • penoy2012

    The permit to campaign offered by the npa is actually a permit to cheat.

    • Karabkatab

      Permit to cheat is different and it carries a different tag price. It is called permit to win. Permit to campaign (PTC) is basic whereas the PTW goes to the highest bidder.

      • penoy2012

        Permit to win is offered by comelec.

      • Karabkatab

        Hahaha.. Maybe true. That is PTW version 2. This is after the election when there is a protest from one party.

  • Handiong_Haringmakabayan

    Insignificant NPA mountain brigands. They’re saying they have “political authority”. Ridiculous. What they have is just some firepower. Besides, does the NPA think us fools to believe that they accept and respect the right of suffrage? What a bunch of hypocritical extortionists. The AFP should unleash the full power of the state upon them.

  • marienkind

    The funny bit here is that if candidates really recognized them as a government, then they would not participate in a political activity of the local government by running as candidates. It’s all a charade.

  • eltee2012

    >>>K

  • eltee2012

    >>>IF THE POLITICIANS OR POLITICAL PARTY COULD SOMETHING TO MILF AND OTHER SECESSIONIST GROUP LIKE NGUYNGOY GIVES MILYON PESOS. WHY FOR THE NPAs THEY COULD NOT DO IT THE SAME?

    >>>TO ALL NPAs /NDF, YOU MAY STOP (IF ANY) PEACE NEGOTIATION WITH THIS GOVT IF YOU FEEL THEIR ONLY PLAYING AND NOT AFRAID ON YOUR ORGANIZATION. LET YOURSELF MAKE STRONG AND MIGHTY LIKE THE MILF AND MNLF. PLAN AND MAKE A GOAL SAME AS TO MILF AND MNLF THEN SOON THIS GOVT AND NEXT GOVT WILL RECOGNIZED YOUR CAPABILITY. BUT ONE THING YOU SHOULD STOP IS NONE SENSE KILLING AND KIDNAPPING (IF ANY) INNOCENTS OR CIVILIANS IN ANY ENCOUNTER OR OPERATIONS. SHOW THEM YOU ARE REALLY A REVOLUTIONARY AND NOT A REACTIONARY ORGANIZATION ONLY. REVIEW AND STUDY ONCE AGAIN AND GO BACK TO PRIMARY AND BASIC LESSONS TEACHES BY KARL MARX, LENIN AND MAO CHEDUNG OR MAO TSETUNG. REMEMBER THE “FIVE GOLDEN RULES”.

  • durian

    Itong CPP/NPA ay talagang mga salot ng ating Bayan walang pinagkaiba sila sa mga korap at magnanakaw nating politiko na naka pwesto na sa ngayon.

  • Mark

    Kung gustong hulihin talaga ng mga militar yan ay napakadali na lng, lagyan nila ng bugging device ung mga computers o cellphones na binibigay sa mga mokong na NPA na yan, pag nsa NPA na un madali na lng i-trace kung nsaan ang mga hinayupak na NPA na yan, baka magulat kayo na ung binigay nyo sa NPA ay ginagamit na pala ni Teddy Casino at ni Lisa Masa

  • durian

    Choosy na ang mga komunista huh!!! Kung sana lumiwanag ang mga isipan ng mga ito at magka isa sa pag unlad ng ating Bayan…, masarap mamuhay sa Bayan na walang away…,

  • $5699914

    Hmmm…kulang ba ang nakukuha nilang pera mula sa mga monthly dues ng mga union na hawak nila?

  • tarikan

    With a thriving PTC (permit to campaign) and RT ( revolutionary tax) who wants peace talks? Ginawa nang hanapbuhay ang extortion nila kaka.

  • zandro santos

    Dati na namang halata na pangongotong ng mga NPA pero panay ang tanggi nila sa DIGMANG KOTONG nila dati. Ngayon sila na mismo ang lantarang umaamin. Nararamdaman na kasi nila na konti nalang at sa history books nalang sila matatagpuan kaya ano pa ang mapapala nila kung patuloy silang magkunwaring revolutionaryo eh wala na namang naniniwala sa kanila? Lantaran nalang!

  • rlo

    Why respect the NPA? Because……they still work for the left.

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