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NPA frees police captive in North Cotabato

Magpet, North Cotabato (Google maps)

COTABATO CITY – Communist rebels have finally freed a police officer they held captive for almost four months in a hinterland barangay of Magpet town in North Cotabato.

Police Officer 1 Bristol Catalan Jr., an intelligence officer at the Makilala town police, was driving a motorbike in Barangay Katipunan in Makilala town to send his children to school on August 16, when communist New People’s Army (NPA) members blocked his path and abducted him.

He was turned over by the NPA to third party facilitators at about 12 noon Monday in Barangay Bagumbayan, Magpet town in North Cotabato.

Chief Inspector Aldrin Gonzalez, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office-12, said Catalan was “emotional” when he met with his wife Jessa.

Lt. Col. Harold Argamosa of the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion said preachers and nuns led by Kidapawan Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo and local officials had helped in facilitating Catalan’s release.

He said Catalan will go through the debriefing process needed to hasten his recovery.

Catalan, who is still spending time with family, has yet to issue a statement detailing his captivity.

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