MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – The Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) have collected a whopping PHP5.4 billion from 2016 to 2018 alone to finance their terroristic activities in the country and to support the lavish lifestyles of their leaders.
The National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) bared this on Monday at the regular virtual press conference of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) which stated that the bulk of the funds came from foreign donors deceived by the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs) into giving donations using issues on human rights and Indigenous Peoples (IPs).
“Malambot ang puso ng mga foreign donors (Foreign donors have a soft heart),” NICA Director General Alex Paul Monteagudo pointed out.
He, however, said the CPP-NPA-NDF could no longer use the same modus here in the country as the Filipinos are aware of the CTGs’ deceptive schemes.
Other sources of the funds were collected through the Rebolusyunaryong Buwis Ukol sa Kaaway na Uri (RBUKU) or revolutionary tax imposed and extorted from businesses in rural and far-flung areas, Monteagudo added.
Aside from terrorism, the funds were also being used “to support the lifestyle of their leaders,” Monteagudo said, citing as an example Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Carlos Zarate who was using money collected by the CTGs to finance his son’s education in Poland as mentioned by President Rodrigo Duterte during his last State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Monteagudo said a high ranking official of the CTGs has admitted that the CTGs could not afford to stop their extortion activities as these have become an important part of their “livelihood”.
“Hindi pwede. Dahil ito na ang aming pamumuhay (It cannot be stopped. Because it is our) livelihood,” CPP`-NPA-NDF official Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos who headed the NPA National Operational Command (NOC), told Monteagudo during their meeting years ago.
The NICA chief said Madlos continues to head the NOC because of his reputation of collecting large amounts of revolutionary taxes.
“Kaya siya naging ulo ng NOC. Lahat ng paraan ginagawa para mafinance ang kanilang operation (That is the reason why he is the head of NOC. They are doing everything to finance their operation),” Monteagudo explained, referring to CPP-NPA-NDF’s other schemes to fund their terrorism, such as using front organizations like the Partylist groups in Congress.
He added that 60 percent of the collected funds were directly coursed to the CTG’s Central Committee based on the testimonies of surrenderees who also revealed “there is corruption within the party”, the main reason why they “surrendered.”
Politicians supporting CTGs being probed
Monteagudo added that they are now looking into individuals who provided support to the CTG’s, including congressmen, governors and vice governors and “even former senators”, but could not reveal their names as of yet as the investigation is still ongoing.
The NICA chief hinted that the politicians involved either gave arms like M-16 rifles or rice to the CTGs especially during election periods.
They are also probing 87 companies who financially supported or gave in to the CPP-NPA-NDF extortion activities.
“We will be running after them. We will hold them liable,” Monteagudo said, referring to the new Anti-Terrorism Act and Republic Act 10168 that defines the act of financing terrorism as a crime and providing penalties to the violators.
AMLC tracking 18 NGO donors
Meanwhile, Atty. Emet Manantan, Deputy Director and Head of Financial Crime Investigation Group of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), said they are now investigating 18 international Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) that funded the CPP-NPA-NDF’s project proposals bearing false advocacies with their allied organizations and the partylist groups.
The amount of donations varied from millions of ‘euros’ to thousands of ‘dollars’ based on what the CTGs have asked from the donors. These were remitted through banks and received in percentages.
Manantan said they were able to trace the transactions when the amount of donation reached the AMLC threshold, enabling them to identify the countries where the money came from; determine the bank where the donations were coursed; and the people who withdrew the money.
“Based on information shared by our counterparts,” Manantan said, they were also able to identify the persons who processed with the bank and withdrew the funds.
These people became the AMLC witnesses “dahil nandun siya sa mga (because these are in the) documents, that she/he is part of the scheme.” The withdrawn money was then handed to local units of the CTGs, he added.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. Meanwhile, the NDF has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council. (PR)