Businesses, politics fatten NPA extortion rackets in Northeast Mindanao

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Big businesses in Northern Mindanao and Caraga Region are tagged as the big sources of extortion money of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

Speaking on the condition of anonymity with NewsWeb, a military officer said among the businesses the guerrillas extort in the areas include the mining and telecommunications companies and contractors of big projects.

Aside from the big businesses, the NewsWeb source also pointed to some politicians as the sources of finances of the communist guerrillas, especially during elections.

“I cannot reveal who are those in the list but their biggest sources are in the mining, telecommunications, and the construction businesses. They are also receiving amounts of money from politicians,” the military officer said.

Among the identified sources, it’s the mining companies that contribute huge amounts of money to the extortion rackets of the communist guerrillas, he pointed out.

“They (CPP-NPA) would base the amount they collect on the number of vehicles the mining companies utilize in their operations in mining sites,” the source said.

Around 60 to 70 percent of the total monthly extortion money of the CPP-NPA in Northeast Mindanao comes from the mining companies, he emphasized.

He has no details on how the contractors of big projects shell out extortion money to the rebels but emphasized that “contractors regularly pay extortion money especially for big projects being implemented in critical areas.”

“Around 10 to 15 percent of the monthly collections come from the telecommunications companies and 15 percent from the politicians,” the officer said.

PHP1 billion collection

The 4th Infantry Division (4ID) of the Army, in a press conference held in Cagayan de Oro on Sunday, November 1 said the CPP-NPA, under the leadership of Jorge Madlos, alias Ka Oris and his wife, Myrna Sularte, alias Maria Malaya, collected around PHP1 billion extortion money in the two regions since 2016.

Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., the commander of 4ID said the insurgents collect some PHP200 million every year in said areas since 2016.

The collections of extortion money, Brawner added, are in the disguise of revolutionary taxes being imposed by the insurgents on big companies and businesses.

Madlos was killed in an encounter with the forces of the 403rd Brigade in Impasugong, Bukidnon last October 30.

He served as the spokesperson of the NPA National Operations Command and a member of the Central Committee of the CPP.

Sularte is the current secretary of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee of the NPA that operates in most provinces in the Caraga Region.

Firearms, ammo purchases

The source also told NewsWeb that big chunks of the accumulated extortion money are utilized by the CPP-NPA in the purchase of firearms and ammunition.

Some portions are also used to sustain the food and other needs of the guerrillas and to support their families.

“They term the family support as Sumapil or Suporta sa Pamilya,” the officer said.

Some of the funds are also allocated to buy materials for anti-personnel mines and other explosives, he added.

“We are also investigating some big businesses in the area where the CPP-NPA also invest some of the extorted funds. We received reports in this but we are still validating,” the officer disclosed.

There are also incidents where troopers from the different units of 4ID recover amounts of money after armed encounters.

“We already have the list of companies, businesses, and politicians that usually give amounts of money for extortion. The list is based on the documents, media drives, and laptops that our troops recover in the field,” the officer said.

The officer said the extortion activities of the CPP-NPA must be stopped, saying that the collection of the so-called revolutionary taxes serves as the lifeblood of their revolution.

He also recognized the unified efforts of the different agencies of the government and other stakeholders to end the local communist armed conflicts.

“Concerted efforts from all concerned are needed to stop the extortion activities of these terrorists,” the source said. (NW)