Philippines: February 6, 2003

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The communist NPA rebels appear to be increasing their money raising activities since they were declared an international terrorist organization. That designation had made it more difficult to raise money overseas leftist groups. The government estimates that their are 9,000 full time NPA members, of whom 5,000 are armed. If paid on the same scale as the Philippine army, this would cost $1.7 million a month. The NPA doesn't pay as much as the army, but they are often competitive in that department. The main source of local income is the collection of "revolutionary taxes" from local businesses. This is basically an extortion racket, but some larger companies resist and the NPA often resorts to murder as well as property destruction. The government is offering peace talks and amnesty, but the NPA is split on whether to accept this offer.

 

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