NPA releases ‘proof of life’ of captive police officer

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/25 September) – The New Peoples’ Army (NPA) in Southern Mindanao recently released a video footage of a police officer who was abducted last month in a barangay here.

The NPA abducted Police Officer 1 Bristol Catalan, a member of the police in Makilala, North Cotabato last Aug. 16 in Purok 4, Barangay Katipunan, Kidapawan.

The NPA’s Mount Apo Sub-Regional Command of the Merardo Arce Command uploaded on YouTube the video of Catalan whom it considered a “prisoner-of-war”.

It said the video proves that the captive is still alive.

In the video, Catalan assured his family that he was being treated well by the rebels.

“Ever since I have not seen a Red fighter… That’s why (when I was caught) I thought they would ill-treat me. But what I found out, it’s far from the truth.  I did not receive even a single flick. They treated me well,” he said during one of his conversations with the guerrillas.

He appealed to the local government units of Makilala and Kidapawan City to facilitate his speedy release as he called on the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police to halt their operations.

Catalan’s video was uploaded after the release of another NPA captive, SPO2 George Rupinta, on September 15.

On August 16, Catalan was driving a motorcycle to the city proper with his two children when six men who identified themselves as NPA rebels flagged him down in Katipunan.

The rebels seized his service 9mm pistol.

Nothing had been heard about Catalan since.

Bishop Colin Bagaforo of the Diocese of Kidapawan has issued several appeals for Catalan’s release.

Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesperson of the Regional Operations Command of the NPA in Southern Mindanao, said the intensified operations of the AFP and the PNP have hampered Catalan’s release.

“The NPA ensures the welfare of POW Catalan in the midst of these offensives but ultimately futile operations. Negotiations with regard to his possible release are being sabotaged by these operations,” said Sanchez.

Catalan’s wife Gigi expressed appreciation toward the NPA’s gesture to show them ‘proof’ that her husband is still alive.

“I have sought many times from the group to show us proof that my husband is OK while in captivity.  We were glad we saw his face through the YouTube,” said Gigi.

She again appealed to the NPA to release her husband as they only rely on him for their daily needs.

“To meet our needs, I worked as rubber tapper. I made it sure my children can go to school.  Also, I received help from friends and from LGUs. But we want my husband to be with us,” she said. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)