DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/13 June) – The New People’s Army (NPA) abducted a police officer in Davao Oriental on Friday.
In a statement Monday, the NPA identified the captive as SPO2 George Canete Rupinta, 52, whom they seized at around 4:30 p.m. on June 9 in Barangay Tagugpo, Lupon, Davao Oriental.
Rigoberto F. Sanchez, spokesperson of the NPA-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command, said the rebel group said Rupinta will undergo investigation for alleged “anti-people activities of his police unit in Lupon.
Rupinta is the municipal executive senior police officer of Lupon.
Sanchez said the NPA seized from his possession a 9mm handgun.
He claimed that the NPA continues to carry out “peace and order campaigns” and hit government forces for allegedly escalating the “atrocious anti-people operations and all-out war in both urban centers and the countryside.”
Police Regional Office 11 spokesperson Senior Insp. Catherine Dela Rey said in a text message Tuesday that Rupinta was declared missing since June 10, 2017.
She said authorities received information on an abandoned motorcycle which turned out to be Rupinta’s.
Sanchez said the NPA has strengthened its battle positions while defending the rights of the people despite being constrained by what they claimed as President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s “adamant dictatorial bluster and the rising fascism of his regime,” following the imposition of martial law effective May 23 and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.
Government forces and NPA rebels clashed on June 11 in Barangay Paradise Embac in Paquibato District, Davao City.
Sanchez lambasted the military for saying that they were responding to reported atrocities in the area and said it was a “shameless propaganda blitz to cover up the fascist acts perpetuated by members of the Joint Task Force Haribon, especially in the last 19 days of Martial Law.”
In a military press release issued on June 11, Major Ezra L. Balagtey, communications media officer of Joint Task Force Haribon, said two soldiers were killed while six others were wounded during the clash.
He also said that a young NPA fighter was killed in Sunday’s encounter. His exact age was not known.
He said the suspected rebel’s cousin, Arden Gallardo Garcia of Barangay Malabog in Paquibato confirmed he was an NPA member.
MGen Noel Clement, Commander of Joint Task Haribon, said they condemned the NPA’s alleged use of minors as combatants.
“We condemn the NPAs of using minors in their struggle. It is contradiction to their claim as human rights protector. We challenge them to spare the children and allow them to explore their potentials in school not in the terrorist armed group that encourages violence,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)