Davao City – It will be a merry Christmas, indeed, for the families of the eight prisoners-of-war (POWs) who were captured by the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) from August to December this year as the National Democratic Front of the Philippines ordered their immediate release.
According to a statement released by NDF-Mindanao, Saturday, the POWs include three policemen from Alegria and Malimono in Surigao del Norte, and one member of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) from Bayugan in Northeastern Mindanao Region; two soldiers belonging to the 8th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army and one member of CAFGU under the 26th Infantry Battalion from Northcentral Mindanao; and two members of the Philippine Army from Southern Mindanao Region.
The POWs will be released by their respective custodial units, NDF Mindanao spokesman, Ka Oris said.
“Their release orders were signed by the National Executive Council of the NDFP,” Ka Oris said.
The police officers were identified as Police Officers 1 Democrito Polvorosa and Marichel Contemplo who were arrested from Alegria, Surigao del Norte last November 16 and Junrie Amper from Malimono, Surigao del Norte last November 12.
Last August 22, Private First Class Marnel Cinches and Jerrel Yorong both soldiers under the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion were captured by elements of the NPA 5pm of August 22 in the wet market of Barangay Buntungon, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon.
On December 2 Corporal Benjamin Samano and Private First Class Alvin Ricarte, both from 60th IB, were captured in New Corella, Davao del Norte. The two soldiers were released today in Montevista, Compostela Valley. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte assisted the release of the soldiers.
Samano and Ricarte were held captive after a raid executed by the NPA Guerilla Front 33 at the compound of Sumitomo Fruits Corporation in New Corella at around 3:45 am said Ka Aris Francisco of the NPA Comval North Davao South Agusan Subregional Command.
Ka Oris said that all the POWs will be released “without the necessary trial under the People’s Court of the People’s Democratic Government because of humanitarian consideration and as our way of wishing the people a peaceful celebration of the Christmas season.”
Ka Oris added that they will also release the POWs as part of their celebration of the 46th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines on December 26.
The NDF Mindanao spokesman assured the family of the POWs that they are in good condition and that their basic needs were attended to by their captors.
Ka Oris said that the POWs also cooperated with the respected NPA custodial units.
“Girespeto usab ang ilang mga katungod isip mga bihag sa gubat subay sa International Humanitarian Law ug sa Protocols of War (Their rights as prisoners of war are also respected in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law and the Protocols of War),” Ka Oris said.
During his weekly program, Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa, Duterte said that he has no problems with the NPA’s treatment of the POW as they “adhere to the Geneva Conventions.”
The NDF called on the Government of the Philippines (GPH) to be sincere in implementing its declared Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) and Suspension of Police Operations (SOPO) from the midnight of December 18 to January 19, 2015 for the safe and orderly release of the POWs. (davaotoday.com)