NPA still a big election threat, says Solcom
LUCENA CITY, Philippines—The military’s Southern Luzon Command has identified 27 towns and 65 barangays in the provinces of Quezon, Rizal, Batangas, Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro where it said the communist New People’s Army rebels pose a security threat to the conduct of peaceful election.
Maj. Gen. Caesar Ronnie Ordoyo, Solcom chief, told newsmen during a media forum Thursday at Camp Nakar that included the Solcom, Philippine National Police and Commission on Elections, that the military and police are closely monitoring the situation in those places to ensure peaceful election and “protect the sanctity of the people’s will.”
Ordoyo said the communist rebels were demanding permit-to-campaign (PTC) fees, ranging from P1,000 to P1 million, from politicians in Southern Luzon.
He said recovered communist document on Aug. 7, 2012 showed that the rebels were asking P800,000 to P1 million from a gubernatorial candidate; P400,000 to P600,000 from a congressman; P50,000 to P100,000 from a mayor; P10,000 to P20,000 from a city councilor; and P1,000 to P10,000 from a municipal councilor.
Col. Generoso Bolina, Solcom spokesperson, appealed to candidates to stand up and not submit to the coercion tactics of the NPA rebels.
He said the military and police are ready to provide security to candidates against harassment from the rebels.
The Communist Party of the Philippines, however, denied the collection of PTC fees.
In its statement, the rebel group advised candidates who wish to campaign within their so-called “revolutionary areas,” to strictly follow policies being promulgated by the NPA, “to ensure peace and order, avoid ‘dirty’ electoral practices and uphold the interests of the masses in the area.”
“Among these is the policy prohibiting the use of ”dirty money,” vote-buying and other ”dirty politicking” in the revolutionary areas. Revolutionary police powers will be applied to prevent such practices,” the CPP warned in the statement.
During the media forum, Ordoyo also disclosed the presence of suspected nine private armed groups in Batangas, two in Cavite and one in Laguna.
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