ALEGRIA, Surigao del Norte (MindaNews/17 November) – Two policemen were seized by suspected communist rebels in Surigao del Norte on Sunday afternoon bringing to three the total number of policemen abducted in the province this month.
Supt. Julito Diray, provincial police director, on Sunday evening identified the two as PO1 Democrito Bondoc Polvorosa and PO1 Marichel Unclara Contemplo.
Both were assigned at the Alegria police station. Their whereabouts have remained unknown.
Diray said the two policemen were going to Barangay Pungtod aboard a patrol car for a meeting with Department of Social Welfare and Development’s and residents for the Pantawid Pampailyang Pilipino Program, but were blocked by armed men believed to members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
The town’s police chief, Insp. Karlo Eden Mahinay said both policemen were on the mobile 4×2 Hilux vehicle when they were flagged down between barangays San Pedro and Alipao.
“Around 30 fully armed men who we think are members of the NPA flagged down our vehicle and they even fired upon it using an AK-47 assault rifle. We have seen three bullet holes near the fuselage which would mean that they wanted to burn the vehicle,” Mahinay said.
The other police personnel in Alegria said Contemplo just recently got out of the hospital after an infection and Polvorosa was transferred to the station just last month.
Mahinay was barely a week in his new designation as town police chief when the abduction occurred.
The Local Crisis Management Committee headed by Alegria town mayor Dominador Esma Jr., had met to find ways to bring the captives home safe.
Supt Romaldo G.Bayting, Police Regional Office-13 spokesperson said a joint operation has been launched to rescue the kidnapped policemen.
Bayting said the new police regional director Chief Supt. David Ombao instructed them to use all [their] resources to save their colleagues.
Lt. Col. Arsenio Sadural of the 30th Infantry Battalion said government troops have been deployed to go after the abductors.
Police have not received any word from the abductors yet.
Last Wednesday (November 12) a rookie policeman identified as PO1 Junrie Amper was kidnapped suspected communist guerillas in a remote village in Malimono town in Surigao del Norte. His captors have also not sent word on his whereabouts.
On July 10 this year, four police officers were taken hostage by communist rebels in Alegria while the town’s police station was being attacked.
Nineteen days after, PO3 Vic Concon, PO3 Rey Oniel Morales, PO1 Joen Zabala and PO1 Edito Ronquiño were released after the government declared a five-day ceasefire in some areas of the province. (Roel N. Catoto and Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)