Army: NPA collects P40M annually from extortion activities

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New People’s Army rebels are getting up to P40 million a year from extortion activities in Western Visayas, an Army officer stationed there said.

Col. Benedict Arevalo, 301st Infantry Brigade commander, said they expect the NPA to intensify its extortion racket with the 2019 elections looming closer.

“We recovered proofs that are more than sufficient to prove that they have been into massive extortion activities,” Arevalo said.
He said the NPA-Komiteng Rehiyon Panay (KRP) gets P30 to 40 million a year from such activities, based on documents seized from Maria Concepcion “Concha” Araneta-Bocala, the CPP-NPA-NDF secretary general of KRP.

Araneta-Bocala was arrested at Barangay Calumpang in Iloilo City’s Molo district on Aug. 1, 2015. She was released to take part in peace negotiations in 2016.

“Given that the arrest happened three years ago, the number could increase,” Arevalo said.

Arevalo said this was reinforced by documents recovered by government troops following a recent encounter with NPA leaders in Antique province.

The documents included letters sent to local businesses this August, seeking funds for the “revolutionary government.”

He laughed off claims the NPAs were “massacred” in the encounter. “Again, it was a legitimate operation. They were criminals who fought against government operatives,” he said.