By Francis Wakefield
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Benjamin Madrigal, Jr., Tuesday said that troops especially those assigned in New People’s Army (NPA) infested areas of the country have been advised to be on alert especially for extortionists who will conduct extortion activities against candidates campaigning for the mid-term elections.
Madrigal made the remark following an interview at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
“Inaano natin sa mga tropa ano, maging, [We told our troops to] be on the lookout especially for extortionists,” Madrigal said.
“Definitely, inaano natin na hindi na talaga makapag-extort itong NPA terrorists [We want to make sure that these NPA terrorists won’t conduct extortion],” he added.
Madrigal said, fortunately, there are areas in the country that has declared the NPAs “persona non grata”, limiting their capability to operate and extort money.
He said areas that have declared the NPAs as persona non grata are Compostela Valley and other municipalities and some barangays in Eastern Mindanao area.
Madrigal, at the same time, reminded troops to remain non partisan or remain apolitical during the duration of the election season.
“We advise them to remain non partisan and to make sure na ang role natin dito [our role here] in the political exercise is to make sure that our people will be able to freely exercise their right to vote and of course to make sure that the elections will be safe, secured and orderly,” he added.
The campaign period for those running for senator and party-list group representatives officially began Tuesday, Febru¬ary 12, 2019 and will run up to May 11, 2019.
The mid-term elections will be held on Monday, May 13, 2019.