DILG says 349 gov’t officials financing NPA
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said 349 local and national government officials are allegedly providing support to the New People’s Army (NPA) by submitting to their extortion activities or permit-to-campaign fees in red-infested areas.
Without dropping names, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the agency already holds a list of officials allegedly supporting the NPA, based on data accumulated from the 2016 and 2018 elections.
He revealed that the communist rebels have amassed around P195.5 million from extortion activities against politicians since 2016.
“We now have a watchlist. We know you. So if you are supporting communist rebels in any way, you ascertain yourself as a supporter of terrorism and an enemy of the state, you establish yourself as an accomplice to their cause,” he said in a press briefing on Thursday.
Año said those included in the list are 11 governors, five vice governors, 10 provincial board members, 55 mayors, 21 vice mayors, 41 councilors, 126 village captains, 50 village councilors, and eight other village officials.
He said 11 former officials of local government units, 10 incumbent congressmen, and a former congressman are also in the watchlist.
The list includes politicians from Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Cagayan Valley, Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas, Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, National Capital Region, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Central Visayas, Caraga, Cordillera Administrative Region, and Zamboanga Peninsula.
According to Año, the NPA is demanding a standard price of P300,000 to P650,000 from those running for governor; P200,000 to P500,000 for mayor; and P50,000 to P100,000 for village officials if they wish to campaign in their areas.
Año added that the list is “not alarming” as compared to the number of villages in the country, but it “sends a message that extortion starts at the community level, down at the grassroots.”
Año berated the officials in the list, as he said they help the NPA rebels to continue operating in some parts of the country.
The DILG chief also urged voters to not support candidates whom they know are financing the communist movement, as the campaign season for the midterm polls heats up. /je
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.