The Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) on Sunday revealed that the Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) of the New People’s Army (NPA) has collected P1 billion in the last five years – the biggest amount of communist extortion money in the Philippines.
Col. Edmund Delos Santos, 4ID’s civil-military operations officer, in a press conference Sunday, said based on their monitoring since 2016, the NEMRC has collected an average of P200 million yearly totaling to over P1 billion in the last five years.
“The collection from Caraga region comprised 60 percent of the overall extortion nationwide, some of the collections are also used to fund (NPA regional committees in) other regions,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., 4ID commander, said the NEMRC is where Myrna Sularte, alias Maria Malaya, operates collecting “revolutionary taxes” from private businesses such as mining and construction companies.
Sularte, the NEMRC secretary, is the wife of NPA spokesperson and national operations command (NOC) officer Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, who was killed during an encounter with the Army’s 403rd Brigade forces in Impasugong, Bukidnon on October 30.
Also killed in the same encounter was Eighfel Dela Pena alias Pika/Maui, a medic of the NOC.
In a statement sent to members of the media, Sularte responded to the 4ID’s claim, saying that Madlos was killed in an ambush by the Army on October 29.Meanwhile, as the 2022 election campaign period nears, Brawner asked politicians and political organizations not to pay the NPA for a “permit to campaign and permit to win,” as the terrorists would only use them to further fund their operations.
He said politicians and their groups should instead coordinate with the Army and the police to secure the areas they plan to visit.