Communist rebels extorted P26M during election period—AFP
MANILA, Philippines— The New People’s Army were able to extort as much as P26 million nationwide during the election period, the military claimed.
Major Ramon Zagala, Public Affairs Office chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, noted however that the amount was lower than the communist rebels’ target of P500 million.
“As you know documents and reports reveal that the [NPAs] targeted P500 milion during the election but they were only able to collect an estimate of, or reports 26 million so that is a very far target,” he told reporters in a press briefing Wednesday.
“They are clearly just doing extortion and terroristic actions so this is no longer about ideology, no longer about issues but actions that will undermine not just government but the Filipino people,” he also said.
During the elections, the NPAs required “permit-to-win” and “permit-to-carry” fees to local candidates. NPA records reportedly recovered by military earlier revealed that the rebels demand as much P5 million for candidates for governor.
Zagala attributed the military’s “increase in operational tempo” that the NPAs failed to reach their target.
“[In] the past we learned that during the election they are aggressive in collection so the unified commands recognized this and increased the operational tempo…We were able to restrict the movements of the [NPAs] in their collection …more field work for our intelligence operatives and we were able to find out and step ahead of them so we attribute it to that,” he said.
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