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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Over alleged extort letters… Authorities say Do not give in

Tagbilaran City, April 20 (PIA)---DO not give in to their demands.

Thus advised army special forces battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Brawner to Boholanos who may have been recipients of extortion letters allegedly from members of the National Democratic Front who also claim as the people’s democratic government.

“How could a group that has been reduced to criminal elements collect taxes when they have been accordingly chased off Bohol?” asked a member of the local peace council.

In his briefing at the Provincial Peace and Order Council Meeting Tuesday, Col. Brawner revealed that the army is now checking the veracity of extortion letters which may be in circulation, not only in Bohol but all over the Visayas.

Also admitting that they have received two kinds of extortion letters, once handwritten and the other one computerized, Brawner told members that the handwritten ones are clearly fakes.

In his briefing and presentation, Col Brawner showed a copy of the letter which was essentially asking the recipient revolutionary taxes.

The letter was signed by an alleged member of the Regional Council for Central Visayas: Claro S. Montañeza.

The letter reads: “The people’s democratic government at its present level implements its revolutionary policies within and in the periphery of its various guerilla fronts, including those pertaining to the dispensation of justice and the collection of taxes from foreign monopoly bourgeoisie, big comprador-bourgeoisie, landlords and the national bourgeoisie.”

“By doing so, it is able to help deliver basic social services to the peasant masses and sustain the financial and logistical requirements of the entire revolutionary movement,” the demand not continued.

And like any demand notice, the extortion letter also came with a threat.

“It mandates the New People’s Army (NPA) to appropriately act on those uncooperative to such and similar policies of the people’s democratic government.”

As to the mode of collection and for the recipient to send the money, the letter instructs: “the NDF invites you to meet our liaison within two weeks upon receipt of this letter in order to facilitate a later interface with an official representative of the people’s democratic government regarding the above-mentioned issues.”

The letter also said “details of the date, time and venue of said interface will be communicated to you by our liaison immediately after the preliminary meeting.”

According to army intelligence, the Taxation Bureau; which uses the code: PAGCOR, is the sole branch of the Komiteng Rehiyon – Sentral Bisayas (KR-SB) which imposes and implements the Revolutionary Taxation in Central Visayas, particularly in the provinces of Bohol, Cebu and Negros Oriental.

The CPP-NPA-NDF (CNN) Revolutionary Taxation is imposed and implemented by the KR-SB in order to support and sustain both armed and legal struggles in the region, intelligence operatives said.

Other than asking people not to give in, Col Brawner also asked to report similar incidents to the army through hotline 0908 268 2695, police hotline 0917 305-1833 or to TaRSIER hotline 117.

Meanwhile, Governor Edgar Chatto asserted that the extortion letters may be a way of testing the waters if Boholanos are ready to embrace back the fleeing rebels.

He said if people do not give in and report instead to the authorities, the threat could be neutralized.

The element of fear must not at all be present in a community, Chatto stressed while urging people to report anything unusual, especially when relating to Bohol peace and order. (Rey Anthony Chiu) 

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