DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The New People’s Army, armed-wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, released the two soldiers who were held captive for almost 11 weeks somewhere in Matanao town in Davao del Sur on Wednesday.
Freed soldiers were Sergeant Solaiman Calocop and Private First Class Samuel Garay, both are army troopers of 39th Infantry Battalion. The soldiers were captured on February 2, in Columbio town Sultan Kudarat province.
The safe release of Calocop and Garay was endorsed to government officials around 10 a.m today as well as to Bishop Redeemer Yanez, of Sowing the Seeds of Peace, a peace advocate group which acted as the third party facilitator.
The officials present include Columbio Vice Mayor Erwin Bermudez and Davao del Sur Provincial Administrator Mark Cagas.
It can be recalled that the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Mindanao had previously announced on February 17 that they will release the six prisoners as a gesture of support to the resumption of the peace talks.
The NPA has previously freed its two captive militias in Davao Oriental on March 24. Macario Dilaab, NPA Mt. Alip Sub-regional Operations Command spokesman said they would have released Calucop and Garay sooner had it not been for the Army and police’s refusal to declare a suspension of military and police operations.
There are two remaining prisoners held by the NPAs namely Police Officer 2 Jerome Anthony Natividad and Pfc Edwin Salan. (With reports from Paulo C. Rizal/davaotoday.com)