LAAK, Compostela Valley – The New People’s Army released its two prisoners of war on Tuesday afternoon.
Private First Class Marjon Añover and Niño Alavaro, who are members of the 25th Infantry Battalion were captured last September 30 in an NPA checkpoint in Barangay Casoon, Monkayo town, Compostela Valley Province.
Based on the release order issued by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the release of the soldiers were done in accordance with the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Protocol 1.
The release order was signed by Rubi del Mundo, representative of the NDFP in Southern Mindanao Region.
Del Mundo said the two soldiers were released as they have been “repentant” of their crimes against the people and that “they voluntarily pledged not to commit anymore crimes against the people and the revolutionary forces.”
In an interview with Alavaro, he said he thought the NPA was abusive, saying “mga abusado nga mga tao nga ang ilang pakigbisog ug personal nga interest lang (ang gihunahuna).”
But after spending more than a month with his captors, Alavaro said:
“Wala koy nakita sa ilaha, ang nakita nako mura lang silag usa ka pamilya. Lahi ra gyud ang ilang pakigbisog gyud, ilang hinaguan nakita gyud namo dili ra sa ilang kaugalingon dili sa ilang personal nga interest para daw sa tanang katawhan (I didn’t see it in them. What I saw is that they were like family. They really have a different struggle, they strive hard for it, not for their personal interest but for the people).”
He added, “Mura lang silag igsuon ana ra sir, mura lang silag usa ka pamilya, mama’g papa, igsuon, cousin ug dili man sila mga dautan sir, malipayon ug kung medyo maguol ko, ginapakatawa ko nila, ginastorya nga ayaw pagbuhat og mga laing lihok kay walay muunsa sa imoha, makita ra imo pamilya.”
For his part, Añover also told Davao Today “Lahi ra gyud sa amoa kontra sa ilaha sir. Kay sa amoa syempre seniority man, sa ilaha walay seniority pantay lang ang pagtan-aw, dakong kalahian gyud sa amoa (It’s different from us, because we observe seniority. There is no such thing with them; everybody is equal and that differentiates us from them).”
The Exodus for Justice and Peace has served as a third party facilitator together with Davao City Mayor and Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) Chair Rodrigo Duterte.
Reverend Jurie Jayme of the EJP said they are “thankful that the NDFP and the NPA has observed the rules of war and has safely released the soldiers.”
Duterte has turned over the soldiers to the Army’s Eastern Mindanao Command in Panacan, Davao City. (davaotoday.com)