NPA frees captured army personnel

Aug. 25, 2013


Maco, Compostela Valley – The New People’s Army released Saturday Private First Class Rodello Arigonan, utility personnel of the Philippine Army’s 1001st Brigade under the 10th Infantry Division at around 2:30pm in Purok 1, Brgy. Panangan, Maco, Compostela Valley after 21 days of captivity.

With the presence of Sowing the Seeds of Peace, village officials and members of the media, the NPA turned-over Arigonan to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who flew in via helicopter from Davao City.

According to Ka Migo, the Spokesperson of the NPA custodial unit, the capture of Arigonan was unexpected.

“We were in an ambush position near a camp of unit of soldiers under the 1001st Brigade of the Philippine Army. Upon mounting the ambush, we were not aware that there was a wire connected to the house of Arigonan. When he went out to survey the wire, we were forced to capture him,” said Ka Migo.

Ka Migo admitted that Arigonan’s capture deterred their plan that night on August 3. They went on with the ambush a day after.  Daniel Ibarra, spokesperson of the NPA’s Comval Davao Gulf Subregional Command, in an earlier statement said they “exploded” a “command detonated bomb inside the headquarters of the 71st Infantry Battalion in Barangay Pangibiran, Mabini town killing six AFP troops and wounding five others” on August 5.

Meanwhile, Arigonan, born in Batac, Ilocos del Norte, said he was happy with the release.

Masaya po ako at kahit na papaano hindi naman nila ako sinaktan (I am happy that I wasn’t harmed in any way),” he said.

According to the release order signed by Rubi Del Mundo of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines Southern Mindanao, their investigation shows that there was “no sufficient evidence” for them to proceed with Arigonan’s “prosecution” for “serious crimes against the Filipino people and the revolutionary movement.”

UCCP Bishop Modesto Villasanta, convener of Sowing the Seeds, said they were thankful for the peaceful and orderly release of Arigonan.

“We thank the CPP-NPA-NDF for taking care of their POW and for releasing him to his family on humanitarian grounds,” said Villsanta.

Duterte also thanked the revolutionary movement for “abiding with human rights agreements” between the government and the NDFP.

He even jested saying “Beinte-tres anyos na siya sa army pero PFC ra gihapon. Niingon ko sa iyaha maayo pa magbalhin na lang siya sa NPA, kay mahimo na unta siyang commander (He has been in the Army for 23 years but has remained  a Private First Class. I told him that if he joined the NPA, he would have been a commander right now),” Duterte said.

Duterte’s trip to the release site was brief due to strong winds that almost threatened his flight back to Davao City where he delivered Ariganon to the Eastern Mindanao Command of the Philippine Army. (John Rizle L. Saligumba/

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