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PIA Press Release

Partylist solon condemn NPAs

By Rose B. Palacio

Davao City (1 September) -- Akbayan representative Loretta Ann Rosales stood in the plenary on Monday to condemn the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, whose latest victim was Altertrade, an alternative business enterprise in Bacolod City.

The Party-list lawmaker described the alleged continued extortion activities on non-combatants conducted by the New People"s Army as "gangsterism and hypocritical" as the communist rebels burned a truck owned by the company last August 13, 2006 for refusing to shell out 30-million pesos.

"Again and again, we have to reiterate our position that the revolutionary taxation system being implemented by the NPA is plain and outright extortion. It is a violation of international humanitarian laws as it entails the use of force, coercion, and intimidation against non-combatants" she said in her speech during the plenary session.

Rosales said the rebel's group's use of arms to exact fees from entities such as Altertrade "must not be allowed to pass by unnoticed."

Force and intimidation, she said were unacceptable means to wage a war against a common enemy such as injustice and poverty. "And the NPAs must learn to respect that not all those who want to see societal change can be bullied into turning a blind eye to its less than savory practices," she pointed out.

Rosales said the NPAs "cannot and should not display behavior that runs contrary to its self-proclained role of being the people's protector" especially at a time when political activists are being killed left and right.

"Its attempts at extorting money from reputable organizations whose aim is to help the poor is downright gangsterism and hypocritical in the context of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHR-IHL)," she said.

"Burning equipment as an enforcement methodology for their internal system sounds more like something one would expect from the mafia, and not an avowed revolutionary organization", she added.

The Akbayan solon urged her colleagues in the House to join her in condemning the NPAs adding that "peace can only be achieved if the initiatives of the whole range of progressive organizations, including alternative trade organization, are respected and left out of the ongoing war between the NPAs and the government." (PIA) [top]

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