Suspected NPA rebels abduct barangay councilor, watchman

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A barangay councilor and watchman were not yet found after suspected New Peoples Army (NPA) rebels entered their houses and dragged them to the mountainous area of ​​Brgy. Selected, Balud, Masbate, Sunday night.

Authorities are still searching for the victims identified as Noli Dela Cruz, 51 years old, a councilor at Brgy. Mapili and relative Marlon Dela Cruz Bajar, 25 years old, a barangay watchman of the same barangay.

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According to the report, at about 11 pm, seven armed NPA members entered the home of Dela Cruz, who was sleeping and dragged him out.

The armed rebels soon raided Bajar’s house and took him with Dela Cruz in the mountains.

It is still unclear whether the suspects were alive or killed as their relatives continue to hope they are still alive.

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In May, the Philippine military said suspected members of NPA abducted three peacebuilders, who were former rebels in Motiong, Samar.

Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division said the communist group abducted a certain Cosme Cabangunay and his two sons, Jevie and Jason.

Also read: Duterte scraps peace talks with CPP-NPA

The victims were reportedly former NPA members who surrendered to the government and are now serving as members of Motiong Peacebuilders. It is an organization of former rebels working for peace and community development.

President Rodrigo Duterte, two weeks before he signed Anti-Terrorism Bill into law on Friday, said that the number one threat to the country is Terrorism and the communists.

“Terrorism is number one on our list. Actually, the number one threat to the country, hindi Abu Sayyaf, hindi mga terorista of no value. Itong high-value targets itong mga komunista (is not the Abu Sayyaf Group nor the terrorists of no value. The high-value targets are the communists),” he said.

“If I do not do my duty now as President, we might just bargain away, place in jeopardy, the democratic values that the Filipinos have enjoyed for the longest time,” he said.

While Duterte’s military and security officials consider the law as a response to the continuing threat from terror groups in the country such as the Abu Sayyaf and NPA, lawyer groups and human rights advocates, oppose the bill because of its vague definition of Terrorism and fear it may be used against political dissent.

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