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NPA resurgence observed in Leyte

By Provincial Media Relations Center
October 23, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The army battalion based here in Leyte has noticed a resurgence of communist activities in a number of barangays in the province as revealed during the recently held Peace and Order Council Meeting of Leyte province.

The 19th Infantry Battalion based in Brgy. Agiting, Kananga, Leyte through its commanding officer Lt. Col. Roberto Capulong however clarified the newly monitored communist activities is not in the form of ambuscades, attacks and firefights but done in the form of teach-ins, patrols and talking with the local populace.

Lt. Col. Capulong said this new resurgence of communist activities is accounted to the upcoming elections where the rebels reportedly want to “make their presence felt and get across the message that they are still a force to reckon with.”

Reportedly, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), are setting aside their “permit to campaign” election fundraising scheme for the more lucrative “permit to win” in their bid to amass money from politicians seeking national and local posts in the next year’s elections.

In past elections, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have validated that the CPP-NPA issued permits to campaign for a certain fee in so-called rebel-influenced or controlled territories.

While it was not indicated how much the NPA rebels would charge national and local candidates to ensure that they would win in areas they claim to have a strong influence, the military intelligence community said the figures would be exorbitant.

Under the new “permit to win” scheme, the rebels will mobilize their political machinery in the countryside to ensure victory for certain candidates who pay their fees.

“This is the new scheme they would be conducting as per reports reaching us. That is why we see this as the reason in their resurgence,” Lt. Col. Capulong said.

The army however assured that government security forces in the area remain more vigilant and put in place more stringent security measures to avert any of these special operations.

Meantime, Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla urged the local army authorities to maintain the “insurgent free” status the province has achieved in the past year as resolving insurgency fosters a climate conducive to economic growth and national development.

“Only in a secured atmosphere can we convince businesses and companies to invest in our province which would mean more economic opportunities for our people. They want to be assured that their investments cannot be hampered by outside forces.  Peace and stability is part and parcel of of our economic growth,” Gov. Petilla said.

Leyte, together with other provinces in the Eastern Visayas region has been declared as “insurgency-free” by the military officials in the region under the command of Major General Arthur Tabaquero of the army’s 8th Infantry Division.

The military has vowed to crush the insurgency in the region to its insignificant level by 2010 as no less than President Macapagal-Arroyo identified the presence of the rebels as among the reasons why the region continue to lag behind in terms of economic development.