NPA bars candidates from bringing guns, Army escorts in ‘rebel-controlled areas’
SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur – Communist rebels have reminded politicians they are not allowed to bring any firearm or Army escorts while campaigning in “rebel territories” even if they have secured a “permit to campaign” from the revolutionary forces.
Maria Malaya, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front in Northeastern Mindanao Region, said rebels have adopted this policy to prevent instances of politicians getting caught in the crossfire between rebels and soldiers (who would be legitimate targets of the rebels), and politicians using firearms to threaten voters.
However, Malaya said the New People’s Army (NPA) might allow politicians to bring in armed police escorts as long as they could justify it.
Malaya said politicians should first coordinate with the NPA units concerned on the need to bring armed police escorts while on the campaign trail.
“Disciplinary action is enforced on anybody who violates these rules,” she said.
Malaya said the “revolutionary policies” relating to the elections would be strictly enforced and politicians violating them could be barred from campaigning in NPA-influenced communities.
“The Regional Operational Command (ROC) of the NPA-NEMR commands all units of the Red Fighters to implement appropriate action against candidates who will violate the revolutionary policies,” she said.
Malaya said the NPA has been making sure that politicians adhere to these policies, since the start of the national campaign period on February 9.
She said the NPA has conducted a checkpoint and flagged down passing vehicles along the national highway in Barangay Mabuhay in Bayugan City as part of the enforcement of the campaign policies.
An earlier police report said some 30 NPA rebels conducted the checkpoint on February 9 and held at least 25 cars that passed the highway connecting the province to Agusan del Norte.
All the responding policemen and Army soldiers had recovered was an empty sack marked with “Stop NPA Checkpoint” and a dummy landmine when they reached the area as the rebels had withdrawn by then.
Malaya said the operation lasted only about 10 minutes but the NPA hoped it reminded politicians about adherence to the campaign policies set by the communist organization. SFM
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