The military expects election-related activities of the New People’s Army in 80 hinterland barangays of Negros Occidental during the campaign period, Col. Jon Aying, 303rd Infantry Brigade deputy commander, said yesterday.
Aying, who presided over the Joint Peace Security Coordinating Center meeting in Pulupandan yesterday, said the NPA is expected to be active in their extortion activities, requiring candidates to pay permits to campaign fees, once they enter so-called rebel-controlled areas.
They are now desperate to collect money from candidates, he said.
The Communist Party of the Philippines, in a statement, said candidates who enter the so-called NPA territories to campaign for the May 13 elections, must secure permission from duly-authorized revolutionary committees.
Without exception, the CPP said all candidates and their political parties, who plan to conduct political activities within territories said to be under the authority of the People’s Democratic Government, must abide by prevailing guidelines to ensure that they do not violate the people’s rights and interests.
Maj. Rey Tiongson, spokesperson of the 3rd Infantry Division, said field commanders have begun reporting that the rebels have sent letters informing candidates to coordinate with them before campaigning in areas they claim to control.
Thirteen towns and cities in Negros Occidental have been included in the Election Watchlist Areas of the Philippine National Police that also noted the existence of four inactive partisan armed groups.
Pulupandan has been added to the EWAS list in Negros Occidental, aside from La Castellana, Moises Padilla, Toboso, Cauayan, Isabela, Ilog, Candoni, Murcia, Calatrava and La Castellana towns, and Sipalay and Escalante cities.
Mayor Magdaleno Peña yesterday led the signing of peace covenant in Pulupandan, although he is not seeking a re-election. His son, Jose Miguel, and brother-in-law, Antonio Suatengco, are running unopposed as mayor and vice-mayor of Pulupandan, respectively.*GPB