By MART D. SAMBALUD
DAVAO City — The peace talks with the government and the communists would only resume if the New People’s Army, the armed-wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, would stop collecting revolutionary taxes, President Rodrigo Duterte said.
Duterte said the NPA’s revolutionary tax is another term for “extortion.”
“That is just a matter of semantics. They call it ‘revolutionary tax,’ actually it’s extortion. Kaya nga may away tayo eh,” Duterte told reporters at Camp Bahian, Barangay Impalambong, Malaybalay City in Bukidnon.
Four years ago, Duterte advised businessmen to “just pay” revolutionary tax.
Speaking before the participants of the Davao Trade Expo in 2013, Duterte who was then Davao City Mayor told the participants that revolutionary tax is “ a matter others want to avoid.”
This time around, as President, he said, “I refuse now to resume the talks with them (communists) until they stop extortion. People will say they pay taxes and yet they do not receive protection and they are being extorted by the NPA.”
“It’s plain extortion. And if they want to continue, to resume the talks, one of the things that I would demand would really be that they stop the extortion activities,” he added.
Although the Duterte administration has expressed its commitment to end the decades-old fight between government and communists, he pointed out that peace would be achieved if both parties would seal into an agreement.
The chief executive said that he does not want to fight with the communist rebels who were fighting with the government since 1969. (davaotoday.com)