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Soldiers recover NPA extortion letters in Negros

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Soldiers from the Philippine Army’s 15th Infantry Battalion have recovered copies of extortion letters sent by the New People’s Army to construction companies in Negros island.

The letters were seized following an encounter with a group of NPAs at Sitio Bunga, Barangay Salong in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental last March 12.

One copy showed the letterhead of the NPA’s Apolinario Gatmaitan Command based in Negros Island, dated March 12.

It bore the signature of Armando Magbanua of the Regional Taxation Group, and claimed the NPA’s supposed People’s Democratic Government “exercises its right to impose taxes on properties, business operations, and revenues, among others within its territory.”

Failure to comply may mean “enforced sanctions detrimental to (the) business operation” if the recipient will not “discuss and settle” their supposed “tax obligations,” the letter said.

“The regular NPA rebels do the difficult and dirty work in the countryside while their leaders and political officers are enjoying the fruits of their extortion activities, living luxuriously and comfortably in the cities,” said Col. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 303rd IB.