The Rural Entrepreneurs Association of the Philippines (REAP) on Monday warns that the increasing extortion cases of the New People’s Army is a sign that the Communist party of the Philippines (CPP) once again is gaining momentum under the Duterte Administration.
Since President Duterte took office last June, REAP’s record shows that eleven public utility buses have been burnt, three power towers have been bombed, more than 50 hectares of sugarcane have been destroyed by fire, and nearly a thousand pigs were killed by the New People’s Army members, especially in Mindanao.
Gonzaga criticized Duterte’s handling of the rebel group and demands that the communist rebels must surrender their arms and stop victimizing small business owners if they really want peace.
The number, according to Gonzaga is much higher compared to the first year in office of former President Benigno Aquino III.
“The government’s peace negotiation with the rebels is good, but the government must press these rebels to stop extorting money through revolutionary tax from small business owners who barely make profits”, Gonzaga told Bombo Radyo on Monday.
A large banana plantation in Bukidnon and Davao closed last October because it can no longer meet the revolutionary tax demanded by the rebels.
Rebels tried to kill more than 500 pigs in a piggery that also refused to pay revolutionary tax last October, also in Mindanao.
“These people are killing small businesses especially in rural areas, and Durterte is not doing anything about it. Joma Sison must be proud of his people extorting money”, Gonzaga said. /Tony Baluarte/
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