Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday (November 21) issued a stern warning to mining companies who allegedly finance the communist insurgency of the New People’s Army to cut ties with the armed group else it will be closed down.
In a speech at an event in Taguig City Philippines, the president said he will crack down those mining companies who continuously pay revolutionary taxes hence conniving with the insurgency of the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
“All mining companies are paying taxes to the NPA. Without exception. But the mining companies will not thrive if they don’t give money. They have to decide once and for all. If I go against the NPAs, the communists, everybody else has to reconfigure your relationship with the NPA. Because if you continue to support financially, I will close you down.”
According to Duterte, these mining firms have been channeling the “revolutionary tax” to the bank accounts of NPA members, alongside the group’s continuous extortion from other private companies. He also criticized mining officials who allegedly tolerate communists’ illegal activities.
“The collection of taxes does not come from the money they extorted in the farm. They get it from the bank. Mining companies are depositing money to the accounts of those NPA members. That’s how they extort from big companies.”
Apart from the mining corporations that aid the insurgency of the armed group, the chief executive alno sent a firm warning that the government of the Philippines will go after the legal fronts of the rebel group. The legal fronts Duterte is referring to is the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), a broad coalition of Leftist groups in the country who, in Duterte’s words, are in cahoots with the armed group in extorting money from big conglomerates to bankroll the activities of the NPA.
“We will study and maybe we will have a crackdown here somewhere. I’m done tolerating their misdeeds.”
On the other hand, Anakbayan, a progressive group under BAYAN, lambasted Duterte for the threat.
Anakbayan national chairperson Vencer Crisostomo said in a statement that Duterte’s contemplating a crackdown against activists and progressive groups speaks of the president’s antipathy to any criticism and his thirst for absolute power. Repression, according to Crisostomo, is the logical consequence of equating all dissent with destabilization.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), meanwhile, backed up Duterte’s statements. AFP Spokesperson Restituto Padilla said that they support the president since the government already did its part in negotiating with the communist group.
“Government has done its part and negotiated with sincerity. We totally agree with the Commander-in-Chief in calling the NPAs terrorists because it is clearly reflected in the numerous criminal/lawless/terrorist acts that they have been committing against defenseless and innocent civilians.”
With this development, the Philippine president also said that he wants to declare the NPA not as a rebel but a “terrorist group.”
“I’ll be issuing a proclamation. I will remove them from the category of a legal entity or at least a semi-movement which would merit our attention, placing them the same as in the United States, terrorist.”
Since 2002, the NPA has been in the terror list of the US.
Following the death of a four-month-old baby after an ambush by the NPA ensued in Bukidnon, north of Mindanao Philippines, Duterte said the action of the armed group is unbecoming and is that of criminals.
As of November 20, Duterte has decided to “cut” talks with the CPP-NPA.
[Featured Image by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images]