NATIONAL Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana yesterday called on business companies to resist extortion demands by the New People’s Army (NPA).
The Defense chief made the call in response to the series of attacks perpetrated by the rebels against companies that refuse to pay revolutionary taxes to the rebels.
Lorenzana said giving in to the rebels demand will only strengthen the enemy’s forces.
“I, therefore, call upon all peace-loving Filipinos to resist these thugs, these terrorists who have brought nothing but misery to the Filipino people in the past 48 years. Let us resist their extortions because giving in will make them strong and perpetuate their criminal acts,” Lorenzana said.
The rebels conducted series of attacks on police and military units despite the announcement of the their leadership that they are resuming peace talks and a unilateral ceasefire with the government this April.
Lorenzana said the rebels are attacking companies that build roads, export produce, transport people and other projects that help generate employment and wealth for the Filipinos. He said such acts clearly show that the rebels are anti- progress and anti –poor.
“Fellow Filipinos, in the past weeks, the communist terrorists who call themselves the New People’s Army went on a rampage, burning equipment and properties of companies that refuse to succumb to their extortions. They do these to companies that build roads, export produce and transport people — activities that help generate employment and wealth for Filipinos,” he said.
“We at the Department of National Defense share in the vision of President Rodrigo Duterte of building a nation worthy of Filipinos and Filipinos worthy of a nation. The path to real, lasting peace is indeed not without its struggles, thus it is important that we stay committed to this goal, and to let our actions reflect our intentions,” he added.
Lorenzana said the series of unprovoked attacks on military and civilian targets last February prompted the government to suspend its peace talks and ceasefire with the rebels.
“We stand by the President’s decision to resume the peace process but we likewise should call on the communists to show their commitment both in words and in deeds,” he said.