The business sector in Palawan has declared the New People’s Army (NPA) persona non grata, a move intended to stop the reported extortion activities of local insurgents through so-called revolutionary taxes.
Those who signed the manifesto following the conduct of a forum by the Provincial Task Force-Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) were owners and representatives of business establishments that have reportedly been victimized by the extortion activities of the leftist group.
The local government and military authorities have estimated that the armed rebels have collected over P36 million from business establishments and individuals since 2013. It broke down the collections per year as follows: P1.9 million in 2018; P3.8 million in 2014; P6.9 million in 2015; P3.3 in 2016; P11.6 million in 2017; P6 million in 2018, and P3 million this year.
Atty. Teodoro Jose Matta, the legal officer of the provincial government, said the members of the business sector in the province cooperated with the PTF-ELCAC on December 5 to ensure their security and safety by helping put an end to the intimidation of the rebel group that extorts from them.
“Ang security and safety is a shared responsibility, hindi po militar lang. Hindi na tayo ang ipinaglalaban natin kundi ang mga anak natin. Gusto ba natin na ang nararanasan natin ngayon ay maranasan din ng mga anak natin? Hindi. ‘Yong ginhawa na nang pagnenegosyo, and ang gusto natin maramdaman na nila na walang karahasan, ‘yan po ang ipinaglalaban natin, kapayapaan at kailangan natin ng tulong ninyo,” he said.
Among the companies listed by the military as having been victims of NPA extortion were: Go Construction Company, Cavdeal, Ivy Michelle Trading and Construction, San Andres Palm Oil, Helen Construction, Gold Rock Construction Company, Lustre Construction, BCT Construction, Kim Harold, Globe, Agumil Palm Oil, Del Monte, Lion Heart, Palawan Pawnshop, Palawan 1, RoRo, Coral Bay Nickel Corporation, and Newington Construction Company.
“We have discovered na mula pa pala noon ay talagang ganito na ang ginagawa nila. Our initial investigation ay kaya sila nagbibigay dahil natatakot sila. Kaya ngayon ay kinakausap namin sila kung anong tulong ang puwedeng naming maibigay,” Western Command (WESCOM) command Vice Adm. Rene Medina said.