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The price bets have to pay rebels

By VERA Files

With 4,300 armed members, the New People’s Army has been dubbed by police as the country’s “largest organized private armed group.”

During elections, the communist insurgents make their presence felt when they go around collecting fees from candidates, primarily those vying for local positions, in exchange for permits to campaign (PTC) and permits to win (PTW), police say.

Data furnished by the Philippine National Police show the sums the rebels demand for PTCs ranging from as low as P50,000 from councilors bets to as high as P5 million from gubernatorial candidates.

No data for candidates for the Senate were provided.

Private armed groups, or PAGs, number 2,664, with those in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao adding up to 2,037 and accounting for 77 percent of the national tally, the PNP said.—Yvonne T. Chua

Permit to campaign fees(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.")

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