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Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año today bared a watchlist containing 349 local and national government officials are allegedly providing support to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) by form of extortion money and permit to campaign fees.
Año says that based on intelligence reports received by the DILG, 349 local and national government officials ranging from congressmen, provincial governors down to the barangay councilors have been identified as source of financial aid and are tied to the communist rebels.
"We now have a watchlist, we know you. So if you are supporting communist rebels, in any way, you ascertain yourself as a supporter of terrorism and an enemy of the state, you establish yourself as an accomplice to their cause," he says.
“We cannot win the war against terrorism if these local officials continue funding the very source of terrorism in the first place," he adds.
The DILG Secretary says that of the 349 officials, there are 11 provincial governors; five vice governors; 10 provincial board members; 55 mayors; 21 vice mayors and 41 councilors.
Also in the list are 126 barangay captains, 50 barangay councilors, and eight other barangay officials.
"This number is not alarming as compared to the total number of barangays in the country, but it sends a message that extortion starts at the community level, down in the grass roots," Año says.
Other source of extortion money are 11 former local government unit (LGU) officials, 10 incumbent congressman, and one former congressman.
"Iyon po ay 349 na tao na nagbibigay ng pera sa mga terorista kaya naman patuloy silang nakakapag-operate. Can you just imagine that? Our own government officials giving funds to the enemy," Año says.
DILG Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary Jonathan E. Malaya explains that according to the same report, these cases involving the said LCEs are distributed in all regions of the Philippines with Region 5 tallying the most cases with 154.
"Extortion money comes from everywhere, all across the nation. Whether these officials gave their support voluntarily or involuntarily is immaterial. Politicians and local leaders should shun any connection with these communist rebels. Do not harbor, support terrorists," Malaya says.
According to Malaya, Regions 10, 4, 11, 2 and 8 tallied 34, 26, 22, 21 and 20 officials financing CPP-NPA, respectively. Region 6 has 15 CPP-NPA supporters, and Region 1 and 12 with 12 apiece; 10 for Region 3; 9 for National Capital Region; Region 7 with 5; and CARAGA, CAR and Region 9 registering the least with 4, 3 and 2 officials.
He encourages local officials to report and work with local authorities especially the PNP or AFP units in their area if they are being harassed or forced by the Reds to pay revolutionary tax or other form of financial aid to them.
Don’t vote for CTG supporters
Año urges the public not to vote for candidates who support or who have links with communist terrorist groups.
“Huwag po nating suportahan ang mga gawain ng mga makakaliwa, ng mga terorista, ng mga CTGs. Huwag po nating iluklok ang mga kandidatong may kaugnayan sa mga komunistang grupo.,” he says.
“Maging sa lokal na pamahalaan man, sa senado, kongreso at maging mga partylist groups na makakaliwa (leftist groups). Sa ganitong paraan po ay nakatulong tayo sa pagsugpo sa komunismo/terorismo tungo sa totoong pangmatagalan kapayapaan sa bansa,” he adds.
According to Año, based on the consolidated figures gathered by the intelligence groups, a total of P195.5-million was accumulated by the CPP-NPA from their various extortion activities nationwide during the 2016 and 2018 polls.
He then enumerated that P300,000-P650,000 are collected by the communist rebels from governors and vice governors; P200,000-P500,000 for mayors; and P50,000-P100,000 for barangay officials.
Stop paying "permit to campaign fees"
Año reminds all governors, mayors and all candidates in the 2019 Midterm Elections to steer clear of directly or indirectly giving financial, material and political support to the CPP-NPA for "permit to campaign fees" as it is a violation of the law.
"You do not need them to win nor to campaign. What you need is a robust platform and a desire to serve the people within your jurisdiction," he says.
The DILG recently released Memorandum Circular 2018-211 reminding all local chief executives and LGU officials that giving any form of support to communist rebels is a violation not only of Executive Order 733 but also of RA 10168.
In the said order, Año directed all Regional, Provincial, City and Municipal Peace and Order Councils to apply moral suasion or to recommend sanctions against LCEs supporting communist rebels