MANILA, Philippines — Communist rebels in Mindanao have “arrested” at least two policemen and are holding them as “prisoners of war.”
On Friday, the Comval-Davao East Coast Sub-Regional Operations Command of the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao said guerrillas manning a “mobile checkpoint” at Kilometer 26, Barangay Panansialan, Compostela town captured Police Officer 1 Alfedo Sillada Basabica Jr., with badge number 272811.
The 26-year old policeman assigned to the Cateel town police sub-staation in Barangay Aliwagwag was on his way to Davao City when intercepted, said Roel Agustin II, spokesman of the NPA command.
Basabica’s capture came a day before the military said Army troops killed eight rebels in a clash in Monkayo town.
READ RELATED STORY: 8 rebels, soldier slain in ComVal clash – Army
On Thursday, the same NPA command released a video of Senior Police Officer 2 George Cañete Rupinta (badge number 080699) of the Lupon police station, who had been captured by six guerrillas on June 9.
In the video, a relaxed looking Rupinta assured his family and colleagues that he was being treated well. He also called on the military to agree to a ceasefire to allow for his safe release and appealed to the government and National Democratic Front of the Philippines to resume peace negotiations.
Agustin, the rebel spokesman, said Basabic “is being investigated for possible crimes against the people and the revolutionary movement,” as he accused the Cateel police of allowing the “pervasive drug trade” in the town and the alleged torture of five farmers in March and May, among others.
At the same time, he said, “there is but one way to address the escalating fascism of the Duterte regime — heighten armed resistance by launching tactical offensives” against what he called “intensified enemy attacks both against (NPA) fighting units and civilian masses under martial law.”
Agustin said the military has launched operations in more than 20 villages in Monkayo, Compostela and New Bataan in Compostela and several more villages of Boston, Cateel, Baganga, Caraga, Manay and Tarragona in Davao Oriental, as well as “in the hinterlands of Trento in Agusan del Sur and in Lingig and Bislig City in Surigao del Sur.”
He accused the troops of human rights abuses, including the alleged mauling of seven farmers accused of being rebels in Sitio San Juan, Barangay Pasian, Monkayo and the burning and looting of lumad and peasant houses in Barangay Salvacion.
He noted that “instead of addressing the pressing problems of the Filipino people such as landlessness and unemployment, Duterte is deliberately choosing to perpetuate fascism that, time and again, all the more fuels the armed resistance in the country.”