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Gov’t hopes truce ends NPA extortion

The government is hoping the communist rebels would refrain from carrying out extortion activities amid the ongoing ceasefire aimed at facilitating talks for a peace accord.

Presidential Communication Secretary Martin Andanar said they welcome the early gains of the peace negotiations, including the indefinite ceasefire agreement, and would let the communist group “manage” their unlawful activities on the ground.

“All statements announced and signed in Oslo, Norway are welcome development for the government, the communist group, and the entire country,” Andanar said in Filipino during an interview with State-owned DZRB.

“With the other activities purportedly done by the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front), it’s up to their ranks to manage their activities that are against the law,” he added.

Andanar was reacting to media queries on whether the government expects the communist rebels to stop its extortion activities pending the peace negotiations.

The rebels have reportedly extorted millions in revolutionary taxes from local businesses and other sectors to fund their armed insurgency in recent years.

President Duterte recently claimed that the communist rebels are thriving due to extortion of businesses in the provinces. In a visit to Cagayan de Oro City last month, Duterte said the group’s tax collectors no longer go directly to the Mindanao-based companies to extort money and instead ask them to transfer funds to Manila.
(Genalyn D. Kabiling)