LOCAL RACES: Issues and dynamics in provinces, towns, and cities in Mindanao

NPA seizes rice from pols to stop vote buying

Karlos Manlupig
Posted on 05/06/2013 9:24 AM  | Updated 05/06/2013 9:26 AM

DAVAO CITY, Philippines - The New People's Army (NPA) has stepped up its campaign to "regulate" the elections by confiscating rice from candidates in North Cotabato to stop "coercive vote buying."

In the past three weeks, guerilla fighters were able to seize more than 98 sacks of rice from political operators of local candidates who have "usurped revolutionary territories" in the towns of Magpet, Makilala and Arakan, said Isabel Fermiza, spokesperson of the NPA's Mt. Apo Sub-regional Command.

"In keeping with the guidelines set by the People's Democratic Government for the candidates of the reactionary elections, the Mt. Apo Sub-regional Command-New People's Army has stepped up its drive against coercive vote-buying and fascist AFP operations to protect the people and defend revolutionary base areas," Fermiza said.

Fermiza explained that the confiscated rice was turned over to the local organs of political power for "proper accounting and disposal".

The NPA also claimed responsibility over an ambush on Friday, May 3, in Barangay Binay in Magpet town, leaving at least two government soldiers killed and two other wounded.

"The confiscation of rice, NPA checkpoints and punitive military actions against the AFP, PNP and paramilitary elements in the run-up to the May 13 elections in North Cotabato are meant to protect the masses from the onslaught of reactionary politicking and coercion," Fermiza asserted.

Fermiza said the NPA would continue to launch punitive actions against candidates and government troops to stop the alleged abuses in the communities.

"Wherever it can exercise its political authority in the province of North Cotabato and adjacent villages and towns, and in order to stop abuses and exact concrete benefits for the masses, the NPA will continue to impose punitive sanctions against candidates and political parties and deliver blows against legitimate military targets in the AFP, PNP and paramilitary troops," Fermiza said. -

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