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NICA chief warns companies aiding 'Reds'

By Dempsey Reyes / The Manila Times

The head of the country's intelligence agency on Monday warned companies giving financial assistance to communist rebels that they face criminal charges.

Alex Monteagudo, a retired general who is the director-general of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), said the government, particularly the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), will be compelled to stop the companies from operating by "enforcing the law" against them.

Monteagudo disclosed they have a list of companies and individuals aiding or paying extortion money to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front and they are building up cases against them.

"We will be filing cases. NTF-Elcac is pursuing it," he said.

"If the companies refuse to work with the NTF-Elcac, then we will enforce the law so we can compel them to stop. Once they are charged, imagine if it's a big company, a multinational company with billions of assets, all of these can be frozen by the AMLC (Anti-Money Laundering Council) if you are involved in terrorism financing," he said in a forum hosted by the NTF-Elcac.

He said those who will cooperate with the authorities will be given protection from the government.

He told private companies to stop funding communist rebels if they do not want to be charged.

A NICA report claimed P5.4 billion in extortion money was collected by the communist groups from 2016 to 2018. Those that paid billions included mining and quarrying firms. Telecom companies were also among the victims, as well as construction firms, contractors, transport companies, fishpond owners and farmers.

The funding provided by these companies, Monteagudo claimed, are used by communist rebels to purchase firearms and ammunition "to kill our people."

"They (terror groups) monitor the Build, Build, Build and demand between one percent and three percent of the contract price for extortion. If the budget is trillions of pesos, you can just imagine how big their collections are," he said.

"There is a need for us to coordinate with one another because this is the only way we can really stop this [communist insurgency]," the official said. "By providing funding to them, companies are making themselves in cahoots with these terrorists, and under the law, they are liable."

Without providing details, Monteagudo noted the government is reviewing the list of companies identified as supporters of rebels, with some cases now in the hands of prosecutors.

"They (the companies) should stop now [with the financing of rebels]. If they want security with their infrastructures, equipment and protection of their officers, they should coordinate with us [in NTF-Elcac]," he pointed out.



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