DAVAO CITY – The National Democratic Front has ordered the suspension of all offensive operations of the New People’s Army in Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte until August 31, 2016 for the release of five prisoners of war held in custody of the NPAs.

The NDF extended the duration of the unilateral ceasefire declared by the Communist Party of the Philippines by four more days in the areas covered by the NPA in San Miguel, Tago, Tandag City, Cortes, Lanuza, Carmen, Madrid, Cantilan and Carrascal in Surigao del Sur and the whole province of Surigao del Norte. The CPP and NPA declared a unilateral ceasefire since 12:01 midnight of August 21 until 11:59 midnight of August 27, 2016 for the resumption of the formal talks between the government and the National Democratic Front in Oslo, Norway.

Ka Maria Malaya, spokesperson of the NDF in Northeastern Mindanao said the declaration will “ensure the safety and security” of the prisoners, Third Party Facilitators, the NPA custodial units, and all those who will attend the release of PO1 Richard Yu of the Philippine National Police in Carmen town, Surigao del Sur; PO2 Caleb Sinaca, PO3 Jayroll Bagayas and NPU Rodrigo Angob of the Malimono Municipal Police Station and SPO3 Santiago Lamanilao of the Surigao City Police Office in Surigao del Norte.

The five police officers were accused of being involved in illegal drugs trade and were arrested as part of the NPA’s anti-drug campaign.

Yu was captured by the NPA Front 30 in Barangay San Vicente, Carmen town on July 5. Malaya said Yu was reportedly involved in the proliferation of illegal drugs in the municipality.

On July 24, Sinaca, Bagayas, Angob and Lamanilao were arrested in Barangay Cagtinae in Malimono by a team of the NPA Front 16.

“They were arrested for their involvement in illegal drugs and illegal gambling in Malimono and Surigao City. PO2 Sinaca is linked as police protector to illegal drug syndicates and the illegal logging trade in the same town,” Malaya said.

She said Sinaca is also known for his “extortion activities of small-scale miners, threatening and harassing peasants working for his father, Dario Sinaca.”

NDF to submit result to PNP chief Bato

Malaya said the NDF will turn over the results of its preliminary investigation on the five police officials to the third party facilitator and to the PNP through its Chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.

“We hope that it will assist them in their own investigation,” said Malaya.

The order to release the five police officers were part of the goodwill gestures of the NDF in Northeastern Mindanao for the formal talks between the NDF and the government, which will be entering its fourth day in Oslo, Norway tomorrow, August 25.

Malaya said they expect that the Army, police and the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (AFP-PNP-CAFGU) and its paramilitary forces “will abide by the order of President Rodrigo Duterte who earlier declared an indefinite unilateral ceasefire starting August 21.

“Should the AFP-PNP-CAFGU units fail to comply with the directive, they shall be subject to counter-offensive and active-defense military actions of the NPA after the lifting of the NPA unilateral ceasefire at the dawn of August 28, 2016,” said Malaya. (davaotoday.com)

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