THE National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) in Eastern Visayas region maintained that politicians should seek “permission for electoral access.”
But while the political front of the Communist Party of the Philippines is admitting that they indeed demand permit-to-campaign and permit-win fees, the amount earlier mentioned by military officials were only “invented” by the latter.
“The allegation about the revolutionary movement’s ‘permit to campaign/permit to win’ fees is a long-running attempt of the reactionary government and the military to deny and discredit the People’s Democratic Government,” Father Santiago Salas, NDF-Eastern Visayas spokesperson said in a statement posted in on their website.
Salas, however, did not mentioned as to how much their group is demanding from the candidates of the permit-to-campaign and permit-to-win fees.
Captain Gene Orense, spokesperson of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Catbalogan City, said that the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee and its armed group the New People’s Army (NPA) are currently intensifying their extortion activities not only to ordinary businessmen, farmers but also to candidates for elective positions.
Based on a NPA documents reportedly recovered by the military troops, the NPA in the region is allegedly collecting PTC fees ranging from P50,000 to P5 million, depending on the post a candidate is seeking in this year’s midterm elections.
According to the document, NPA rebels will ask P500,000 from congressional candidates; P5 million from governor; P500,000 from vice governor; P100,000 from board member and mayoralty aspirant; P75,000 from vice mayors; and P50,000 from councilor.
“The 8th ID is maliciously trying to reduce into a mere financial transaction the otherwise highly significant reality of reactionary politicians negotiating with the People’s Democratic Government,” Salas, however, said.
“The reactionary politicians recognize that there are two governments in the country today, and in negotiating for electoral access, they thereby accept the authority, territory, and the laws and policies of the People’s Democratic Government,” he added.
Salas stressed that all candidates in the 2013 elections must have permission for electoral access from the NDF.
Among the conditions set by the rebels for candidates are no to vote buying; not bring excessive armed security, or the military and police, in their campaign sorties; and contribute to the well-being of the people.
“Those who violate the terms of their electoral access are subject to punishment like the disarming of their armed minions, confiscation of bribe money, and other such measures deemed necessary by the revolutionary authorities,” he warned.
The Philippine Army has called on politicians to refuse any offer of PTC and PTW fees by the rebels.
The region has about 120 barangays under rebel threat but the level of influence has been manageable with the ongoing development projects in these areas, according to the Philippine Army. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)