THERE are 349 government officials who are “supporters of terrorism,” Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año yesterday said citing a watchlist containing the names of local and national government officials who are allegedly providing support to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (NPA) by paying extortion money and permit to campaign fees.
According to the DILG chief, an intelligence report showed the 349 officials ranging from congressmen, provincial governors down to the barangay councilors have been identified as source of financial aid and tied to the communist rebels.
“We now have a watchlist, we know you. So if you are supporting communist rebels, in any way, you ascertain yourself as a supporter of terrorism and an enemy of the state, you establish yourself as an accomplice to their cause,” he said.
Of the officials, 11 are provincial governors, five vice governors, 10 board members, 55 are mayors, 21 are vice mayors and 41 are councilors.
In the barangay level, 126 are village chiefs, 50 barangay councilors and eight other barangay officials.
“We cannot win the war against terrorism if these local officials continue funding the very source of terrorism in the first place,” he said.
This number is not however alarming as compared to the total number of barangays in the country, but it sends a message that extortion starts at the community level, down in the grass roots, Ano said.
Ano also bared that the other sources of extortion money are 11 former local government unit (LGU) officials, 10 incumbent congressman, and one former congressman.
“Iyon po ay 349 na tao na nagbibigay ng pera sa mga terorista kaya naman patuloy silang nakakapag-operate. Can you just imagine that? Our own government officials giving funds to the enemy?” the DILG head said.
DILG Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary Jonathan E. Malaya explained that according to the same report, these cases involving the LCEs are distributed in all regions of the Philippines with Region 5 tallying the most cases with 154.
According to Malaya, Regions 10, 4, 11, 2 and 8 tallied 34, 26, 22, 21 and 20 officials financing CPP-NPA, respectively. Region 6 has 15 CPP-NPA supporters, and Region 1 and 12 with 12 apiece; 10 for Region 3; 9 for National Capital Region; Region 7 with 5; and CARAGA, CAR and Region 9 registering the least with 4, 3 and 2 officials.