Continue collecting ‘taxes,’ CPP tells NPA

Published by rudy Date posted on March 30, 2011

MANILA, Philippines –  The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) yesterday ordered the New People’s Army (NPA) to con­tinue collecting revolutionary taxes, as it bared plans to increase its ranks to 250,000 in the next five years. 

The CPP said the taxes to be levied would be used to bankroll its operations and to support the revolutionary fighters and their families.  

“It is the duty of the people’s government to collect taxes and fees and to impose fines for the purpose of funding social services, administrative operations and defense,” CPP said in a statement issued during the NPA’s 42nd anniversary.

The CPP said the NPA and its mass organizations must be sustained through contributions from bene­ficiaries of land reform and wage hikes.

The military has criticized the CPP for collecting the so-called revolutionary taxes, saying this comprises extortion.

Officials said the NPA cannot levy taxes since the authority belongs solely to the government.  

The CPP has justified the NPA’s action, saying it is imposing fines against companies that are abusing the environment and laborers. Latest military data showed that the rebels collected close to P100 million last year and P1.5 billion since 1998 from investors and politicians.

The military said last year’s figure is lower than 2009’s P136 million due to the alleged decline in the popularity of the CPP. Officials said the usual targets of the NPA are mining firms, logging companies, and plantations.

In the same statement, CPP said it aims to increase its membership to 250,000 by 2016 with recruits from the ranks of workers, educated youth and mass organizations. But the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it expects more communist rebels to surrender to the government.

AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Oban Jr. said the need for combat operations will soon diminish as more rebels are abandoning the armed struggle.

“The need for armed engagements against the NPA will eventually decrease as we see a continuance in the influx of NPA members surrendering. However, AFP remains alert to respond to NPA-related threats known to mark its anniversary by atrocious attacks,” Oban said in a statement.  

Military data showed that a total of 117 rebels have surrendered since Jan. 1 when “Bayanihan,” the AFP’s new anti-insurgency strategy started to take effect.

The figure is higher than the 71 NPA members who surrendered in the first quarter of 2010.

The AFP attributed the increase of rebel returnees to the joint peace efforts of the military, the police and local government units.

Military operations in the first quarter have resulted in the seizure of 88 firearms, lower than last year’s 148.  

Bayanihan, which will be implemented until 2016, aims to end armed rebellion through development programs in far-flung communities. The security plan aims to attack poverty and other causes of insurgency.

The AFP said the attacks mounted by the NPA have been reduced to 62 in the first quarter from 86 in the same period last year.  

The NPA’s strength, according to the AFP, had declined to 4,100 as of last year from a peak of more than 25,000 in 1987.

Officials attributed the decline to the government’s development efforts and the internal conflict within the communist leadership. –Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star)

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