Politicians urged not to pay "permit-to-campaign" fees to NPA
by Donna Christine T. Ucang
By Jennifer Catan-Tilos
Dumaguete City (22 January) -- The election period is well on its way and with this, the Armed Forces of the Philippines vows to stop any efforts from rebel groups to use this period in favor of their movement.
Negros Oriental Provincial Director P/Supt. Melvin Buenafe said that they will not allow the New People Army rebels to collect “permit to campaign” fees from potential candidates.
Dialogues with the candidates have been made during the past elections to stop this effort of the NPA to generate funds.
According to Insp. Gilbert Renasa, the NPA rebels use the election period not just to generate funds but also to maximize their works in favor of their movement. They are using the election period for their electoral struggle such as positioning their movement in the government and to gather intelligence materials.
P/Supt. Buenafe added that they are doing a routine talk with the politicians here in the province but with the limited number of police and military they cannot give each candidate a bodyguard.
The Provincial Police Office will still have to evaluate the hotspots in the province which will be determined through previous incidences and intelligence reports.
A gun ban will be enforced starting on January 14 up to June 13.
The AFP has earlier said it would thwart any efforts by the communist New People’s Army (NPA) to collect “permit to campaign” fees from politicians during the May elections.
Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon said the military had received reports that the NPA was planning to collect “permit to campaign” fees in their respective areas of control from candidates.
“We hope to be able to control the collection of permit-to-campaign fees. We will discuss this with the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies as I think it’s an illegal activity,” Esperon said.
The NPA collects the fees from politicians who want to campaign in areas where they hold sway.
Esperon urged candidates not to pay campaign fees to the NPA. “We should not be paying fees to an armed group that is bent on extorting [money] from the people, from the candidates. (I am) calling on probable candidates not to pay permits to campaign fees to the NPA,” said Esperon. (PIA) [top]