LEGAZPI CITY, March 15 (PNA) -- The New People's Army (NPA) in Bicol is not only asking for permit to campaign and permit to win fees from candidates for the May 9 elections but also payment for a permit to carry a gun inside its alleged controlled territory.
This was disclosed by Chief Supt. Augusto M. Marquez Jr., Philippine National Police Bicol regional director, who warned politicians not to fall victims to this new ploy of the rebel group.
Marquez said his office has received intelligence reports of this new fund-raising tack of the rebels in the mountains.
He, however, admitted that despite receiving such reports, his office has not confirmed it, as no one has complained about the new fund-raising ploy of the NPA.
The PNP regional official wondered why, aside from the permit to carry, they have not received any information on the permit to campaign and permit to win but they are verifying the reports that arrangements or payments had already been done even before the start of the campaign period.
Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Allan Martin, assistant division chief of the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Barangay Sagurong, Pili, Camarines Sur, said there has been not formal report yet from their intelligence community on the implementation of permit to carry firearm policy from the NPA.
Martin, however, said that this could be true as the NPA will do all it can to raise funds from the politicians during this election period.
Aside from this, he said, the rebels could serve as members of the private armed groups of politicians, especially in Masbate.
The Army official claimed that the NPA in Bicol is now a spent force as manifested by the series of harassment activities it has been staging against small military facilities and that it can no longer launch large-scale ambush operations and attacks against big camps.
Martin said they saw the sporadic presence of rebels in some areas of Albay and Sorsogon.(PNA) FFC/FGS/JH/CBD