MANILA - The communist rebels will unlikely stop collecting revolutionary taxes despite calls by President Rodrigo Duterte, a Leftist adviser said.
National Democratic Front senior adviser Luis Jalandoni said Monday, he believes the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army (CPP-NPA) "will be firm in saying that that is the function of the revolutionary movement and government."
"We cannot promise [to stop collecting it] because it is a function of the revolutionary government in providing services to the people under their influence," he said in an interview with ANC's Headstart.
The halt to the collection of revolutionary taxes was one of the conditions set by Duterte as his administration resumes talks with the communist rebels, scheduled first week of April.
Jalandoni insists, asking for revolutionary taxes from companies is not extortion.
"It cannot be called extortion because first of all, it’s to provide the needs of the people, provide the services and then it’s through the process of negotiation to find an agreeable middle point that both sides could agree on," he said.
Although he cannot estimate how much they collect in a year, Jalandoni said "it is far below the needs of our people."
He also said the taxes collected are "well-audited," and although it is meant for the health and education of their people, he admitted that it may also be used to purchase arms.
"That also could be a possible way, because to protect the people, the New People’s Army has to have sufficient strength because there are many actions and attacks made by the AFP," he said.
"There has to be some kind of strength of the New People’s Army to protect the people, their programs and the areas there," he added.