THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday, October 19, urged the 2019 mid-term election candidates not to give in to the demand of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) for “permit to campaign” fees.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said this is a form of extortion by the communist rebels.
The New People's Army, armed wing of the communists, grants safe passage to political candidates who pay the so-called "permit-to-campaign" fees.
“That is what we want to put an end to because candidates need to freely go to places to campaign and the voters must be free to go to voting precincts without being harassed,” Lorenzana said.
AFP spokesperson Colonel Noel Detoyato urged the candidates to immediately report to the police such illegal activity by the rebel group.
He said the CPP-NPA is earning hundreds of millions of pesos during election campaign periods.
Earlier, the AFP said the NPA extorted over P5 billion in revolutionary taxes from 2015 to 2017.
CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison denied that the NPA is engaged in collecting PTC fees.
“The Duterte regime and its military minions are lying when they say that the NPA uses the election campaign period to extort from political parties and candidates by demanding payments for the permit to campaign,” he said.
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde said such illegal activity is among the matters that the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Committee (JPSCC) is trying to address.
Under this joint security framework, the military and police organizations seek to establish greater inter-operability in our continuing operations to address security concerns within our respective areas of concern including all other major national events where we join hands in support of national government initiatives. (SunStar Philippines)