Sarangani town mayor warns banning firms supportive of NPA
February 26, 2021 - Friday 8:02 PM by PNAMalapatan, Sarangani Mayor Salway Sumbo Jr. (File photo courtesy of the municipal government)
GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The municipal government of Malapatan town in Sarangani province on Friday warned businesses and construction companies they will be banned from operating in the area if they support the New People’s Army (NPA).
Malapatan Mayor Salway Sumbo Jr. issued the warning as he ordered an investigation into the reported resurgence of extortion activities by NPA rebels among businesses and construction firms working on government projects in the area.
“They should not be afraid of these terrorists. We can assure their protection 101 percent,” he said, adding that it is illegal to entertain such demands or make any form of payment to the NPA and their allies.
Acting on reports that a number of business establishments and contractors in the area have received extortion letters demanding the payment of “revolutionary taxes” to the communist terrorist group, he said they already requested police and Army units operating in the area to monitor the situation and conduct appropriate actions.
Among those affected are private construction companies assigned in road opening projects in upland villages, he said.
“We’re trying to confirm right now if any of them already gave in to these demands,” Sumbo told reporters.
He advised the companies and business establishments that received the extortion letters to just ignore them and report them to the local government, Philippine National Police, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
He said the local government has already requested the deployment of additional troops and intelligence personnel to properly secure the affected areas, especially the construction sites.
NPA units previously thrived in the mountainous villages of Malapatan but their presence in the area significantly declined in the past several years due to the continuing military operations and the government’s efforts to deliver various development projects and services to the people.
Several incidents of heavy equipment burning by communists were recorded in the area in the past years but none since Sumbo assumed office in 2019.
“According to reports, only a few armed rebels are left in the area as of the moment and the extortion activities are just part of their desperate efforts to become relevant again,” he added.
The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. Richelyn Gubalani
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