By Mike Crismundo and Yas Ocampo
CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – Government troops on Monday strengthened security operations, especially in far-flung areas, to curtail the imposition of Permits-To-Campaign (PTC) and Permits-To-Win (PTW) fees that are being demanded by the New People’s Army (NPA) from candidates for the May 14 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan electons.
Field unit commanders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have also stepped up their round-the-clock patrols to avert any possible terroristic activities that might be perpetrated by the NPA terrorists as the campaign period for the village polls shifts into high gear this week.
The all-out operation was launched in the wake of reports from local residents that Communist terrorists have been roaming around in their villages to sow terror and force candidates to dole out fees to obtain PTCs and PTWs from them.
In particular, this was the complaint received by the Eighth Infantry Battalion (8th IB) in Bukidnon.
“We will establish grounds and verify the reports received from concerned populace with regards NPA terrorist asking PTC and PTW fees,” said Brig. Gen. Eric Vinoya, commanding general of the 403rd Infantry Brigade.
Vinoya assured the populace that the military will assist the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ensuring peaceful and orderly elections on May 14.
“We affirm that our soldiers will continue to uphold the peaceful undertaking of synchronized Barangay and SK elections,” he said.
He added: “We will be extra vigilant to avoid any chaos that the NPA terrorists may do to disrupt the election.”
Meanwhile, soldiers of the 30th Infantry Battalion (30IB) captured two rebels accused of extorting from residents in Brgy. Can-aga, Malimono, Surigao del Norte. The two rebels had with them P50,000 in cash.