Business establishments lost Php 246.2 million pesos as a result of NPA attacks. In a press release from the 5th Civil Relations Group of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the army disclosed that the total amount is from the various atrocities recorded in Eastern Mindanao for calendar year 2015. Broken down by quarter, the costs of these damages are: 1Q 34.71 M; 2Q- 34.58; 3Q- 92.72; and 4Q- 84.11 million pesos.
The AFP’s Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) Commander Maj. Gen. Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero said that these atrocities have not only stalled development and the delivery of essential services, but have also brought innumerable difficulties and hardships to the employees whose work was affected. “If the CPP/NPA/NDF is sincere about peace and promoting the people’s interest, then they should immediately desist from attacking development projects and legitimate business, which serve the interest and provide gainful employment to our people”, Maj. Gen. Guerrero said.
The Army cites the Communist’s violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) which prohibits attacks against civilians, and non-military targets. The CARHRIHL is an agreements signed by the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) during the Estrada administration.
According to the press release from CPT Alberto C Caber, the Eastern Mindanao Command has “directed its forces to institute measures that would enhance the security of vital industries, projects and businesses in its area of operations.” AFP forces were also directed to coordinate with the local PNP; LGU officials; and the security officers of the said entities to harden the security of their respective establishments and prevent any untoward incidents from happening in their communities.
In the meantime, the EastMinCom has reiterated its call for businessmen to report extortion activities by the NPA. The EastMinCom anticipates a rise in extortion activities especially with the numerous development projects being implemented in the region and with the approaching election campaign season. The AFP also belittles the the NPA extortions as a result of the loss in its logistical base in the countryside.
Camp Panacan decries what it says is the NPA’s use of extortion activities to finance its operations against the government. The EastMinCom is appealing to the general public to work closely with security and law enforcement agencies to put a stop to extortion by the NPA.