The New People’s Army is investigating Lingig, Surigao del Sur, Mayor Henry Dano for alleged participation in armed hostilities and have taken four jail officers as “prisoners of war,” a rebel spokesman said.

Dano, who was taken from his home on August 6, is facing charges of “direct and indirect, overt and covert participation in armed hostilities,” Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesperson of the NPA Merardo Arce Command, said in an emailed statement.

“Foremost of these acts are his maintenance of a private armed group and engaging in intelligence gathering against the revolutionary forces,” Sanchez said.

Dano will also be questioned on his alleged participation in recruitment for the Philippine Army and the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit, according to the rebel spokesman.

The rebel group is still studying whether to declare Dano’s escorts Cpl. Alrey Desamparado and Pfc. Allan Pelino as prisoners of war after they were found to be “intelligence operatives” of the 4th Infantry Division, Sanchez said.

Meanwhile, the rebel spokesman said it has given a prisoner-of-war status to JInsp. Murphy Todyog, JInsp. Eric Llamasares, SJO2 Rogelio Begontes, and JO1 Rolando Bajuyo Jr., who were seized by NPA members in Kitaokitao, Bukidnon, on July 21.

“Under international conventions, the POW status is a protective status that guarantees the recognition and full respect of the POW’s basic rights,” Sanchez said. (John Roson)

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