MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday threatened to shut down mining companies which give “revolutionary taxes” to the New People’s Army.
The NPA is known to demand “revolutionary taxes”, deemed extortion by the government, in exchange for sparing mining firms from attacks.
In a speech in Taguig City, Duterte said mining firms must stop giving in to the demands of the rebels or they would face closure.
“Without exception ‘yan. At hindi magta-thrive ‘yang mining nila kung hindi nagbibigay ng pera ‘yan. So we have to decide once and for all. If I go against the NPAs, the communists, well, everybody has to reconfigure your relationship with the NPAs,” Duterte said.
“Because if you continue to support financially, I will close you down. In the interest of the security of that state, all those funding the NPAs dito, we will trace and everything.”
In the same speech, Duterte also reiterated that talks between the government and communist rebels remain off, saying it would be better for the two sides to just engage in a war.
Duterte said he has told Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and government chief negotiator Silvestre Bello III to tell communist leaders abroad, among them CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison, that the peace talks would no longer resume.
“Sinabi ko kay Dureza pati kay Bello, you tell the guys there sa Netherlands, I'm no longer available for any official talk. Giyera na lang tayo,” he said.
Peace negotiations broke down in May this year following a string of attacks against state troops allegedly committed by the NPA.
The President earlier said he might also categorize the NPAs as terrorists, just like what the United States did.
“I will follow America, tutal sinasabi nila ‘amboy’ daw ako. Kailan pa ako naging amboy? ‘Duterte, US fascist.’ O eh ‘di sige, granted,” he said.
“I will admit it, pasista ako. So I will categorize you already as a terrorist.”
In an ambush interview, Duterte said Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo will draft the proclamation declaring the NPAs as terrorists.