20 suspected NPA supporters in Kidapawan yield

KIDAPAWAN CITY (Sep 5) – At least 20 residents of a rebel-influenced village here have yielded voluntarily to authorities on Tuesday to clear their names after they were accused of helping communist guerillas.

The villagers were accompanied by Ricardo Rifurial, chairman of Barangay Katipunan, one of the seven villages identified as “highly-influenced” by the New People’s Army (NPA).

Rifurial said the surrenderees admitted to the 39th Infantry Battalion that they were members of the “Sangay ng Partido” (SP).

Two of the 20, he added, are members of his Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT).

One of the village guards reportedly confessed that he once accommodated some NPA guerillas to take some rest in his house.

Another guard, Rifurial said, admitted having in his possession a laptop left by one of the NPA rebels.

“These villagers yielded to the Army to clear their names … that they have nothing to do with the abduction of a police officer in Barangay Katipunan,” said Rifurial in an interview over the Catholic-run DXND.

On August 15, at least six armed NPA guerillas snatched PO1 Bristol Catalan, of the Makilala police, at Purok 3 in Barangay Katipunan while driving his children to school on his motorcycle.

But Catalan’s abduction remains a “mystery” to Rifurial.

“I was asking myself why would the NPAs take PO1 Catalan? He has done nothing wrong against the rebels. He is not a bad cop. He is a good person,” he said.

Other villages in Kidapawan City considered NPA-infested are Barangays Santo Niño, San Roque, Linangkob, San Isidro, Sikitan, and Gayola. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)