FOLLOWING the warning of President Rodrigo Duterte against mining companies that they will face closure once they pay “revolutionary taxes” to the rebels, local security officers have called on business sectors in Davao Region to refrain from giving in to extortion demands by communist groups as the money is just being used to strengthen the rebels' fire power.

Captain Jerry Lamosao, Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) chief of the 10th Infantry Division (ID), reminded the business establishments to report to authorities if they encounter threats of attacks when they refuse to pay extortion taxes.

“Ito ang panawagan namin sa mga business sectors to support the program of the of the government if meron pong mga contacts na mangyayari we can track down these people texting them or calling them,” he said.

He said these business establishments are the resource generation of rebels to support their operations, which only further fuel them to continuously operate. He also said should these business establishments pay, the New People’s Army (NPA) will continue to thrive.

However, they could not blame these companies because if they will refuse to pay, these insurgents will conduct atrocities and harassments against them such as killing, attacks and burning of their equipment so that is why the companies are forced to pay instead.

In an earlier report, there is about P1.5 billion extortion money collected from construction, mining, transportation and agriculture companies by the rebels every year.

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) Police Superintendent Julius Borja, Deputy Provincial Director for Operations (DPDO) of Davao del Norte Provincial Police Office (DNPPO), said that they’ve been making constant dialogue with the business sectors in Davao del Norte to empower the people there considering that some of the municipalities in their provinces are NPA-infested.

They conduct local coordination to orient managers and security officers on what to do when they encounter extortion demands and how to address these threats.

“We have that eagerness to support this administration especially against those communists. Lahat ng programa sinusuportahan para ma-adress ang problema especially pangongokelta na extortion money,” he said.

“Natatakot lang siguro yong mga estbalishments, mga businesses kaya nagbibigay. Ito po ang panawagan namin sa business sector not to support them kasi dito po sila lumalakas,” he added.

Thus, he urged these businesses to immediately report to authorities if they receive these kind of demands.

In an earlier speech in Taguig City, President Duterte warned mining companies not to respond to the demands of the rebels, otherwise, he will shut down their companies.

“Without exception ‘yan. At hindi magta-thrive ‘yang mining nila kung hindi nagbibigay ng pera ‘yan. So we have to decide once and for all. If I go against the NPAs, the communists, well, everybody has to reconfigure your relationship with the NPAs,” Duterte said.

“Because if you continue to support financially, I will close you down. In the interest of the security of that state, all those funding the NPAs dito, we will trace and everything.”