(PNA photo courtesy of DILG Aklan FB page)

ILOILO CITY – Political candidates running for various posts in the May elections in Western Visayas are warned not to enter into any alliance, provide economic or financial support or use the Communist Party of the Philippines -New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) as their private army.

The reminder was made in a series of face-to-face and virtual dialogues with the National Anti-Money Laundering/Combatting Financing Terrorism Coordinating Committee and covenant signing for peaceful elections organized by the Western Visayas Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF6-ELCAC).

“We campaign to stop extortion activities during election. We are encouraging incumbent officials seeking re-election and political aspirants to sign the covenant not to provide material and financial support to the NPA, particularly in their permit to campaign and permit to win extortion activities,” said RTF6 ELCAC spokesperson Asst. Provincial Prosecutor Flosemer Chris Gonzales in an interview Thursday.

He said it is the first time in the Philippines the government has become proactive in countering terrorism in the time of elections.

The candidates also signed a covenant not to provide economic support to the CPP-NPA-NDF aside from the usual commitment for honest, orderly, and peaceful elections.

“Basically we received good feedback from aspirants and local government units. We expect that this election we can eliminate the participation of CPP-NPA-NDF in the electoral processes,” Gonzales said.

The task force will be holding a forum in Negros Occidental, Bacolod City, and Capiz on March 1, 2 and 3, respectively.

Anyone extending support to the communist terrorist group (CTG) will be held liable for violating the Anti-Terrorism Financing Act of 2012 and the Anti-Terror Act of 2020.

These are serious offenses and are non-bailable because they carry a penalty of life imprisonment.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

The NDF has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (PNA)