Saturday, May 4, 2013

Army troops monitor NPA movements in Samar

From the Philippine News Agency (May 4): Army troops monitor NPA movements in Samar

The Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division (8ID) is now closely monitoring the movements of the local insurgents in Samar particularly its extortion activities against candidates seeking posts for the May 13 polls.

“The focus of our troops is to be vigilant in monitoring the movements and extortion activities of these rebels,” said Capt. Amado Gutierrez, spokesman of the 8th ID based here.

Every day, the 8ID received reports from the local assets and community folks that members of the New People’s Army (NPA) have been roaming around asking money in the form of permit to campaign or permit to win fees to the local candidates.

“We first validate these reports and immediately send troops to the area,” Gutierrez added.

Last Thursday, at least two local insurgents apparently conducting extortion activities were killed during the 15-minute encounter with the government security forces in Barangay Albalate, this city.

The other three companions of the rebels fled the scene. Recovered from the two unidentified dead rebels were two assault rifles and explosives, the army said.

Earlier, the military in the region claimed that the NPA is soliciting permit to campaign and permit to win fees from candidates, ranging from P50,000 to P5 million, depending on the position being sought by a candidate.

Documents recovered by the military revealed that the NPA was tasked by the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Eastern Visayas to implement the collection of the “permit to win” and “permit to campaign” fees to local candidates.

Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF in Eastern Visayas spokesman, however, denied the claim.

Meanwhile, Major General Gerardo Layug, 8th Infantry Division commander, said the military will continue to perform its mandate to ensure peaceful and safe elections. Thousands of soldiers had been deployed to assist the police in securing the peace and order in the region.

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