By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
30 December 2010
MANILA, Philippines—The founding leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) stood firm that the rebel group will continue collecting revolutionary taxes from big businesses in the country, an issue that government negotiators intend to raise when peace negotiations resume in February.
“It is the duty and prerogative of the people’s revolutionary government to collect taxes for the purposes beneficial to the people,” Jose Maria Sison said in an email reply to INQUIRER.net.
Sison, however, clarified that communist rebels do not tax foreign mining companies, saying that the CPP “will ban, disable and dismantle such companies.”
Sison, who also serves as chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front (NDF), the umbrella organization of the communists that negotiates with the government, said the taxes collected covers the “costs of administration, defense, land reform, promotion of production and social programs, including public education, health, cultural and other activities.”
Health Undersecretary Alexander Padilla, chairman of the government panel in formal talks scheduled in Norway’s capital, Oslo, on February 15 to 21, earlier said that the panel will raise the issue of revolutionary taxes during discussions with the NDF.
Padilla said the rebels should stop taxing business establishments, stressing that they are not the government, and that such practice was driving away investors.
Earlier reports quoting the military had said that seven major mining companies had threatened to withdraw from the Caraga region—composed of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur—after the New People’s Army (NPA) raised its annual “tax” take from P15 million to P20 million next year.
Sison considers that the “revolutionary government” led by the CPP has the right to impose taxes on the business establishments.
“There is yet no peace agreement. The two conflicting sides of the civil war in the Philippines are still negotiating. Everyone must recognize the fact that there are two governments in the Philippines,” he said.
The Netherlands-based communist leader slammed government and military officials for spreading false information that the CPP, through its armed wing, the NPA, exacts taxes from foreign mining firms.
“My understanding of the policy of the revolutionary government is banning, disabling and dismantling such mining companies because they damage the economy and environment and take away land from land reform,” he said.
”Foreign mining companies take away non-renewable mineral resources and damage permanently the people’s aspiration for national industrialization,” he said.