NPA POW alive and well

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Police Officer 3 Jorge Sabatin, a “prisoner of war” of the News People’s Army’s (NPA) Conrado Heredia Command (CHC) is alive and well as shown in the “proof of life” the Maoist rebels posted on its website Monday.

“Amid the enemy’s so-called rescue operations cum combat operations, POW Sabatin’s safety and security is assured inside the territories of the People’s Democratic Government and his basic necessities are provided
under the guerilla conditions of his captivity,” CHC spokesperson Roel Agustin II said in a report posted in the rebel’s website, a copy of which was also emailed to this reporter.

Agustin also said that the NPA is upholding the rights of its POWs in conjunction with the Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law (IHL).

The “proof of life” included photos of Sabatin holding a newspaper and an audio clip in mp4 format. In the voice clip, Sabatin assured his family that he is safe and well, and his rights are fully respected pursuant to his status as prisoner of war.

He also urged his superiors especially Agusan del Sur Gov. Edward Adolph “Eddiebong” Plaza to stop the military operations for his expeditious investigation and possible release.

Sabatin is one several policemen detailed to the 1403rd Police Provincial Mobile Group outpost in Pulang Lupa, Trento, Agusan del Sur which the rebels overran on February 1.

To save his life, Sabatin surrendered to the rebels and was subsequently declared a POW.

Sabatin’s fate is not yet clear and is expected to be taken up in the resumption of the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines (NDF-CPP) in Oslo,
Norway starting today (Feb. 15).

The CPP declared last Saturday a one-week ceasefire in time for the peace talks.

The NPA, armed wing of the CPP, follows Maoism, claiming to fight for that ideology’s concept of “New Democracy.” With only 60 fighters and 34 rifles when it started in the early 1970s, the NPA gained numerical strength
quickly during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos which prompted thousands of students to join its ranks. At its peak in the early 1980s there were over 25,000 fighters. Current NPA strength is estimated at 6,000.-Albus D. Estabas


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