DAVAO CITY, Philippines—As a gesture of support on the resumption of peace talks, the National Democratic Front in Mindanao announced Thursday the slated released of the six prisoners of wars who were held captive by the New People’s Army.
In a statement dated February 17, NDF-Mindanao Spokesperson Ka Joaquin Jacinto said that PO2 Jerome Anthony Natividad, Pfc. Edwin Salan, Sgt. Solaiman Calucop, Pfc. Samuel Garay and Cafgu Active Auxiliary Rene Doller and Carl Marc Nucos will be released by the NPA units in their respective regions. The statement was sent to media Thursday midnight.
“The NDFP in Mindanao urges the GRP to heed the call of the Filipino people for the resumption of formal talks with the NDFP, despite the absence of any ceasefire agreement,” Jacinto said.
He said the “Duterte government cannot, at this point, ignore this resounding call to set into motion the possible implementation of genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization.”
“If genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization are carried out to the satisfaction of Filipino peasants, workers and national minorities, millions will surely benefit and significantly improve their lives,” he pointed out.
Even as the NDF would want the peace talks with the government to resume, the communist group emphasized that the termination of its unilateral ceasefire was “necessary” after the government failed to fulfill its promise to release the more than 400 political detainees from their custody.
The NDF-Mindanao bashed also the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police for “deliberately made the situation untenable” after the President Rodrigo Duterte declared an all-out war against the NPA after he unilaterally terminated the peace talks.
Jacinto claimed that in a span of nearly six months, the government troops have occupied hundreds of communities in both cities and the countryside in Mindanao and the rest of the country under the guise of the government’s previous anti-insurgency campaign Oplan Bayanihan and the new security plan Oplan Kapayapaan.
The state security forces’ continued operations under the AFP’s new security plan, according to Jacinto, has “threatened and harassed poor and innocent peasants and Lumad, causing many to flee their villages for fear of being captured, tortured, extra-judicially killed or massacred.”
“In this context, the NPA, in active-defense mode, was only duty-bound to launch offensives against operating AFP/PNP troops in order to defend these communities from state-sponsored atrocities,” Jacinto said.
He further explained that the “continued fighting in the field will remain standard in a protracted civil war, especially when the roots of such a conflict remain unresolved.”
“Under this condition, however, a continuing peace talks between the GRP and the NDFP becomes imperative, which, needless to say, opens doors to find possible genuine solutions to the basic social problems suffered by the people and pave the way to attain just and lasting peace,” he added. (davaotoday.com)