NDF not keen on stopping revolutionary taxes

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 22 2017 10:42 AM

The National Democratic Front is not keen on heeding President Rodrigo Duterte's call to stop collecting revolutionary taxes.

National Democratic Front peace negotiator Rey Casambre said the conditions set by the President for peace talks to resume are still subject to discussions.

"It only means that these issues become part of the agenda, especially we will be talking about forging bilateral ceasefire. There’s an agreement to do that," he said in an interview with ANC's "Early Edition."

"Most of the issues that have been raised as ‘conditions’ are really subject to discussion, subject to negotiation; therefore, part of the agenda," he added.

Casambre said revolutionary taxes are collected in the same way the government imposes taxation.

"The context, the reality is that there exists dual political power especially in the countryside. You can't expect the government to acknowledge or admit that but since you are negotiating, even without the admission, there is a tacit recognition that there is that dual authority. Otherwise there won't be any reason for negotiations," he said.

He added: "The NDF also has that authority and that need to provide services that the people in their territory...to be able to receive services."

"The fact that it has been going on for decades means it's reality. Businessmen, whether they are forced or not, they do pay those taxes because they deem it to be necessary for their commercial or business operations. In other words, there is also acceptance on the part of businessmen to pay those taxes."

Meanwhile, Casambre said the New People's Army is expected to declare a unilateral ceasefire in a matter of days.