Still no word from hostage-takers on abducted Surigao police officer

CAMP COL. RAFAEL C. RODRIGUEZ, Butuan City – Authorities here have yet to receive any information from the abductors of a police intelligence officer in a Surigao del Norte town.

 “By this time, still no word has been received from the abductors of P/Staff Sgt. Restie Dandan,” said Regional Public Information Office (RPIO) Caraga Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) chief Maj. Renel E. Serrano.

He said that, as of Sunday afternoon, there was still no communication from the abductors to any of Staff Sgt. Restie Dandan’s family members, or his fellow police officers at the Sison Municipal Police Station (MPS) in Sison town, Surigao del Norte province.

A Special Task Investigation Team of Surigao del Norte Police Provincial Office (PPO) and Sison Municipal Police Station (MPS) are currently coordinating with the provincial and municipal crisis committees on the search and rescue operations of the abducted Sison MPS intelligence officer.

“Our field team is still looking possible means to rescue the police officer, who was abducted since July 31, 2020,” said the RPIO chief, in an interview with The Manila Bulletin late Sunday afternoon. 

The Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) has yet to own up to Dandan’s abduction, no other armed group operated in Sison except communist rebels, according to Serrano.

Dandan was driving a motorcycle on his way to work when flagged down by unidentified number of armed men, believed to be NPAs, around 8:45 a.m. on July 31 along the national highway in Barangay San Isidro in Sison, initial police report said.

It was gathered that the family of Dandan was already very worried about the safety of the police officer.

Meanwhile, Surigao del Norte Gov. Atty. Francisco T. Matugas, who immediately mobilized the provincial crisis committee and provincial peace and order council after the reported abduction incident, also told The Manila Bulletin that the two committees already met with the members of Sison municipal crisis committee, led by Mayor Karissa Paronio, for possible negotiations with the abductors of the police officer.

“Priority of our peace-keeping team on the ground is the safe release of the victim,” said the provincial chief executive as he appealed to the hostage-takers to release the police officer unharmed.

In a phone interview last week, Matugas told The Manila Bulletin that the crisis committees, both province and municipality were doing everything necessary to bring the police officer home, unharmed, alive and safe.