DAVAO, Philippines – The National Democratic Front (NDF) on Wednesday, June 8, asked for public understanding on the revolutionary tax its armed wing collects, saying the New People’s Army (NPA) has the “right” to impose the levy in its “territory.”
NDF spokesman Fidel Agcaoili made the appeal in a press conference after a forum at the Ateneo de Davao University, when asked about the NDF’s stand on the NPA’s collection of “revolutionary tax” in the context of grumblings from businessmen based in Davao City.
“You have to understand [that] revolutionary movements, meron silang (they have)… political power operating in the countryside and elsewhere. And they have the right, [as] any state…they have the right to impose tax on any form of business that operates within its own territory,” Agcaoili explained.
“Alam ‘nyo kasi ‘yung (You know, the) revolutionary movement…that’s why we’re a revolutionary movement. We’re trying to win a revolution in order to try and establish a state,” explained Agcaoili, who had earlier met with president-elect and outgoing city mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Agcaoili explained that taxes were needed for the movement to fund services for its communities.
“Yun naman tax na nakukuha, hindi naman napupunta sa bulsa, hindi katulad nitong sa kasulukuyang gobyerno, ‘no? Hindi napupunta sa bulsa ng tao kundi napupunta sa bulsa… [instead] napupunta sa efforts ng community to establish new schools, establish new cooperatives, mga medical services sa communities. Doon, doon napupunta iyon,” he said.
(The taxes that are collected, they don’t go to the pockets of leaders, unlike this government. It doesn’t go to the pockets of people but instead, they go to efforts for the community to establish new schools, establish new cooperatives, medical services in] communities. That’s where the money goes.)
Besides, said Agcaoili, it was Duterte himself who told businessmen to just pay the NPA.
“Di ba sabi ni President Duterte, ‘Bayaran na lang ninyo!’ Siya nagsabi noon, hindi ako (Wasn’t it President Duterte who said: ‘Just pay it!’ He said that, not me),” he quipped, referring to a statement the long-time Davao mayor made in 2013 during a trade expo in the city.
Refusal to pay such taxes lead to NPA attacks on these businesses. Other companies, however, have refused to pay.
Duterte has branded himself as a “leftist” and is set to give Cabinet positions to nominees from the Left. He was also a student of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison.
Sison, who has been in exile for over 3 decades, had earlier expressed hope he would finally be able to come to the Philippines under a Duterte presidency.
The NDF is set to resume peace talks with the Philippine government under a Duterte administration. Key leaders of the longest-running insurgency in Asia are set to meet with 3 representatives of the incoming administration is Oslo, Norway next week. – Rappler.com
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