LGU, biz owners unite with Army vs NPA extortion in Butuan

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 11 – The local government unit and business owners in this city expressed their commitment to the Army’s 402nd Infantry Brigade against the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) extortion activities during the Stakeholders Security Forum on Peace and Development held recently at Y-Hotel, Montilla Boulevard, here. 
A total of 16 business owners belonging to the Butuan City Chamber of Commerce (BCCC) and Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce Association Incorporated (FCCCAI) participated in the said forum showing their support to finally put a stop to the CPP-NPA Terrorist (CNT) extortion activities in the city.
The forum was aimed to educate the participants on the NPA extortion scheme, embolden the business owners to stop yielding to the CNT’s extortion demands and institute efforts to synergize collaboration in ending the CNT extortion activities.
Rey Desiata, the City Administrator of Butuan City; Director Charissa Guerta, CLGOO of Butuan City; Brigadier General Maurito Licudine, 402nd Brigade Commander; Lt. Col. Julius Cesar Paulo Jr, 23IB Commanding Officer; and representatives from Police Regional Office-13 and Butuan City Police Office attended the said event.
It can be recalled that last July 18, 2020, a total of 25 contractors and construction firm owners and security officers, together with the provincial government of Agusan del Norte led by Governor Dale Corvera and the 4th Infantry Division led by Major General Andres Centino, also gathered for the same purpose and presented actions to end the communist terrorist group (CTG) extortion activities in the province.  
During the presentation on the CTG extortion scheme in the said forum, Captain Daryl Secong, Operations Officer of the 402nd Brigade, bared that an average of P15,000.00 to P20,000.00 have been extorted from various establishments in Butuan City on a monthly basis.
“This is about Php9,380,000 in a year which unfortunately contributed to the growth and sustainment of the strength of the CPP-NPA Terrorist operating in the area. We appeal for your participation in our effort to drastically decrease, or even stop, the NPA fund generation,” Capt. Secong urged business owners.
The disclosure of the amount of collected extortion money from business owners in Butuan City and other areas in Agusan del Norte were supported by the revelation of alias ‘Ka Lyn-lyn’ during the forum. She was a former ‘tax collector’ and designated extortionist of Guerilla Front (GF) 21 of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) who surrendered to the Police Regional Office 13 sometime on June 2020.
BGen. Licudine underscored that the surrender of alias Lyn-lyn as another fatal blow to the terrorist group resource generation scheme after several of its Finance Officers conducting extortion activities in Agusan del Norte and some parts of Caraga Region were either captured or killed by the joint law enforcement operations of the Philippine Army and the PNP.
“The extortion capacitates the NPA to perpetrate atrocities. From CY 2010 to date, there are 166 government troops have paid the ultimate sacrifice and 113 innocent civilians were mercilessly murdered and violated by the treacherous communist terrorists all because someone decided to pay one peso to the NPAs,” BGen. Licudine said.
On October 22, 2020, three revolutionary tax collectors under GF4A were apprehended by the joint elements of 23IB, Magallanes MPS, ADN PIU and ADNPMFC. The apprehended personalities were the resource and fund generating team of GF4A. They received and collected the money extorted by Jelan Pinakilid alias ‘Baking’, Finance Officer, GF-4A, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) thru the use of money transfer (Palawan Pawnshop) several times in Magallanes Municipality.
Meanwhile, the officials of the two business chambers of Butuan City who were present during the forum offered their assurance of support and cooperation not to give in to the threats and intimidations of the CTGs.
Likewise, Desiata pledged on behalf of Mayor Ronnie Vicente C Lagnada to continue working with the business owners. He assured that the LGU-Butuan recognized the pressing problem and shall collaborate with the Philippine Army and PNP to touch base with the establishments that were extorted by the CTG.
“We also urge our colleagues in the Task Force ELCAC and our politicians, to please synergize effort in order for us to prevent NPA extortion activities in the locality. Let us educate companies, business owners and fellow politicians that paying extortion to the NPAs will empower more our common enemy, impede economic growth and will only bring more suffering to our constituents,” Desiata ended. (Maj. Francisco Garello, Jr., CMO, 402ndBrigade/PIA-Caraga)


Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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