Documents expose NPA extortion, recruitment of minors in Leyte

The recent recovery of documents from the house of a suspected member of the New People’s Army (NPA) in an upland village in Carigara, Leyte has exposed the group’s activities to recruit minors, and extort money and food supplies from local government officials, businesses, and farmers.

EXPOSING EXTORTION. Some of the documents recovered by soldiers from the house of suspected members of the New People’s Army in an upland village of Carigara, Leyte on Nov. 13, 2020. The documents exposed the communist terrorist group’s activities to recruit minors and extort money and food supplies from local government officials, businesses, and farmers. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army)

The documents, posted online by the Philippine Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade on Wednesday, show a handwritten report of an NPA member listing their sources of financial support. These include a major resort hotel and two big construction firms based in Ormoc City, Leyte.

Also listed are the internal revenue allotment of some remote villages in Carigara, Leyte, and “solicitation” to six mayors in Leyte province, which was not indicated in what way it was carried out.

The specific report has not indicated any numbers, except for the volume of rice collected from local farmers.

“In the past, we heard a lot of hearsays about sources of NPA extortion funds, but it is only now that we got tangible evidence. A former rebel who surrendered to the military verified that these documents were written by one of their commanders,” said Capt. Karahudin Adil, the spokesperson of the Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade.

Soldiers turned over these documents to the Philippine National Police as evidence for filing of possible charges against local officials tagged as sources of extortion money.

“We will talk to them to find out why they gave in to the threats of the communist terrorist group,” Adil told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview Wednesday.

The handwritten documents also confirm the rebels’ goal to recruit 15- to 17-year-old members from remote communities in Leyte to compose the NPA’s young communist league.

“These documents reaffirm that the NPA has been recruiting minors in Leyte. Recently, we also found textbooks on revolutionary underground mass movement and bomb-making manual meant for young recruits,” Adil added.

Soldiers recovered the documents on Nov. 13 from the house of suspected NPA members Edencio and his wife Nora Dionaldo.

Government troops also rescued the couple’s seven children, including five minors, and recovered war materiel from the house.

The pursuit against suspected NPA fighters who recently abandoned a nearby lair led government troops to the house of the Dionaldo family.

Edencio remains at-large while Nora and the couple’s eldest son, Ernie, were detained at the town’s police station. They are now facing charges of illegal possession of firearms, ammunition, and explosives.

The military called on local officials who “seemed to be playing deaf” to the illegal activities of the NPA in their areas to be more active in countering communist terrorism in their locality.

The NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (Sarwell Meniano, PNA)

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