Local candidates urged not to pay campaign fees to NPA

MANILA -- As the campaign period for local bets kicks off on March 29, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) on Wednesday reminded candidates not to pay permit to campaign fees to the New People’s Army (NPA).

In a joint statement, the DILG and ULAP reminded aspirants in the May 13 mid-term polls that “financing the NPA and their terror activities will make them criminally and administratively liable under our laws”.

The candidates have also been advised to immediately report to the authorities the extortion activities of the NPA, the armed group of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which is listed as terrorist organization by the United States and European Union.

“The government exhausted all efforts in resuming the peace talks but with their continued perpetration of criminal activities including extortion, clearly they have shown that their agenda is fueled by selfish interest and the goal of overthrowing our democratic government and way of life,” the statement read.

“We likewise enjoin the Filipino people to be vigilant and to cooperate with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to safeguard our communities from the opportunism of these terrorists and their front organizations,” it added.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said supporting the CPP-NPA through extortion money is not helping the government’s efforts to fight terrorism.

"Inuulit po namin, (We would say it again) being a supporter of terrorism makes you complicit and liable under the laws of the land. The current administration's resolve in extinguishing terrorism in the country is resolute and we intend to sustain that," Malaya said.

"We will follow through on the President's directives. In fact, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año himself recently said that the NPA will be wiped out in the next two years," he added.

Año earlier directed the PNP to monitor the 346 national and local government officials who have been included in the DILG watch list for allegedly providing financial support to the CPP-NPA through extortion money and permit to campaign fees.

Malaya emphasized that the DILG will not hesitate to file administrative and criminal charges against politicians who will be proven to be in cahoots with the NPA.

“We will not hesitate to file criminal and admin cases against politicians who will support terrorism. And we will expose your names to the public,” Malaya said.

For his part, ULAP secretary-general Danilo Dayanghirang conveyed support for the DILG's campaign against terrorism and violence.

"We are in unison with President Rodrigo Duterte and Secretary Año in denouncing this extortion scheme of the NPA," said Dayanghirang, national chairperson of the Philippine Councilor's League.

"As far as ULAP is concerned, we will just follow the directive from the DILG and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) against the proliferation of terrorism and in curtailing this extortion scheme of the NPA," he added.

ULAP is an umbrella organization of all leagues of local government units and locally-elected government officials. (PNA)