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Marxists rebels blackmail Coca-Cola plant

January 19, 2014

The communist guerrillas of the New People’s Army in the Philippines sent letters in late November to major industrial firms in a province of Mindanao demanding that they pay 5 million pesos in revolutionary taxes to the NPA.  Among the extortion targets is a new Coca-Cola plant in Misamis Oriental, one of the most modern bottling facilities in the world.

The demands put the firms in a delicate position.  Multinational corporations with a presence in the Philippines have previously been violently attacked by NPA fighters for nonpayment of revolutionary taxes.  The mayor of a major Philippine city has even encouraged companies to go ahead and pay the taxes.  But, at least elsewhere in the world, multinationals that have gone ahead and met the financial demands of rebels, such as Chiquita in Colombia, have faced prosecution in courts of law and of public opinion for funding terrorism.

Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc. and the other firms that have been targeted should refuse to make the payments.  A local police chief, Rogelio Labor, says the companies “have nothing to fear,” because of the presence of the Philippine Army’s 58th Brigade in the region.  That had better be true, or else these businesses would be well-advised to ramp up their own onsite security measures, or just do business elsewhere.

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