By Antonio Colina IV
Davao City – Some P2.48 billion had been lost to alleged extortion activities and attacks launched by New People’s Army terrorists last year, Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) commander Lt. General Benjamin R. Madrigal revealed Tuesday.
At the sidelines of the Mindanao Business Briefing at Seda Hotel here, Madrigal said that at least P1.48 billion came from extortion from mining and agricultural companies in Eastern Mindanao, covering Davao Region, Caraga and parts of Soccsksargen and Northern Mindanao.
With P1.48 billion, Madrigal said the NPAs could buy 23,333 AK47 rifles or 31.1 million rounds of ammunition.
The other P1 billion came mostly from the damages incurred on the box plant of the Lorenzo family-owned Lapanday Foods Corporation in Mandug after the NPAs burned it on April 29, 2017, he added.
The EastMinCom chief appealed to businesses to stop giving in to the demands of the terrorists because they only worsen the insurgency problem by funding their operations with revolutionary taxes.
“They (NPA) will continue to ask if some will continue to provide also,” he added.
Madrigal said they hold regular meetings with companies to educate owners on the consequences of paying revolutionary tax and how and where to report NPA harassments.
He assured a strengthened military presence in conflict-affected and resources-rich areas to stop extortion activities.