SALAKNIB Monteverde, spokesperson of the Antonio Licawen Operational Front (Alfoc), has warned Cordillerans against extortionists posing as members of the movement.
“They have been extorting large sums of money from their victims and even threatened to kill the victims should they refuse to pay,” Monteverde said in an open letter issued to Tubo residents in Abra.
Monteverde’s New People’s Army (NPA) unit operates in the provinces of Benguet, Abra, and Mountain Province and Ilocos Sur detailed how posers have been collecting “revolutionary taxes” for the past three months as he urged the public to provide information to help apprehend the fake rebels.
Among the victims of the fake group were Tubo Vice Mayor Johnny Gattud and the town’s budget officer, Antonio Alfonso, who received identical letters directing them to provide money for medicine to help NPA rebels wounded in combat.
Monteverde acknowledged the NPA collects revolutionary taxes from “foreign imperialists, bureaucrat capitalists, local big businessmen and landlords operating within the guerrilla zone.”
“Revolutionary taxes are collected based on the authority and recognized political strength of the revolutionary government,” Monteverde said.
He added they send formal letters, bearing the logo and signature of the spokesperson or designated official of the concerned NPA command, to those being taxed and conduct negotiations during scheduled meetings and never uses threats.
No leads in Kalinga Volvo burning
In Kalinga, Provincial Police Director Senior Superintendent Brent Madjaco remains baffled following the torching of a back hoe owned by a contractor last week.
On March 31, a concerned citizen of Sitio Bakwit in Allaguia, Pinukpuk reported a backhoe owned by Randy Balbino Construction Company and Royal Seabees Construction was burned by still unidentified suspects.
Madjaco said it was not clear if members of the NPA committed the crime since there have been no demand letters coming from the rebel group.
The police official, however, said rebels operating in the area together with some individuals who remain at large are still considered suspects.
Investigators were able to recover 17 empty shells of ammunition in the crime scene. (With reports from Ian Addatu)