CAMP PERALTA, Capiz, Philippines—The military in Western Visayas on Thursday admitted that extortion remains a rampant practice by communist rebels in the region, raking in P27 million last year.
“That’s a continuing practice here. One of the biggest sources of extortion money are the hacienderos, the sugar planters of Negros,” said Major General Jose Mabanta Jr., commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.
“They (rebels) get a lot in terms of revolutionary taxation [that’s why] they would never want to leave Negros,” he said, also referring to Semirara coal mining.
Mabanta said that in 2011, the NPA guerrillas in Negros collected about P27 million in extortion money.
Despite this, the military said it does not see its military drive to curb insurgency in the regions as a failure.
“These are the challenges posed to us that we always address. What’s important is we engage the different hacienderos. We can’t say it’s a failure. To a certain extent we have been able to thwart extortion,” Mabanta said.