Military: NPA collected P236M from extortion activities last year

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    THE communist New People’s Army has collected some P236 million in extortion money from business establishments and politicians throughout the country last year, a military official said yesterday.

    Maj. Francisco Garello, civil military operations of the Army’s 402nd Brigade based in Butuan City, said about P118 million of the collections came from the Caraga and Northern Mindanao regions.

    “This amount of money is more than enough to finance its terrorist activities in the area,” said Garello.

    On Wednesday last week, 4th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Andres Centino and Agusan del Norte Gov. Dale Covera met with representatives of about 25 construction firms in Butuan City in an effort to stop the NPA extortion activities.

    Centino said the military has a list of those who have given in to the extortion demands of the communists. He urged these establishments and politicians to cease supporting the rebels.

    He said the rebels are “still thriving despite the AFP’s notable success over the years because their extortion scheme was not stopped.”

    Brig. Gen. Maurito Licudine, commander of the 402nd Infantry Brigade based in Butuan City, said the military will provide security to business establishments which are being victimized by the extortion scheme of the rebels.

    “Everyone must be part of this initiative. Let’s us make a strong advocacy and together end this insurgency,” added Licudine.