Army general warns Panay, Negros candidates vs NPA extortion

Published March 16, 2022, 10:03 AM

by Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY—With less than two months before the May 9 elections, the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) of the Philippine Army has warned candidates in the islands of Panay and Negros not to give in to extortion demands of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.

“We hope the candidates will not allow it,” said Major General Benedict Arevalo, 3ID commander.

Major General Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) of the Philippine Army. (Photo courtesy of the 3ID / MANILA BULLETIN)

While there is no reported extortion by the armed group of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the 3ID urged candidates to report to authorities any attempts.

In the past elections, the NPA rebels would send letters telling candidates to secure permits-to-campaign (PTCs) and permits-to-win (PTWs).

These PTC and PTW letters indicate fees the candidates must pay for their safety while getting endorsement at the same time.

“The election season may be a time that they [the NPA rebels] can gain in terms of funding or logistical support,” Arevalo told Manila Bulletin.

But Arevalo admitted that both the NPA rebels and candidates may be thinking twice given the fact that issuing PTCs or PTWs is now illegal under Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

Arevalo also noted that authorities would get vital information on the rebels’ movement in the event that their members are caught while delivering PTC or PTW letters to their target candidates.

“We will eventually find out the names of politicians,” added Arevalo.