DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Two government soldiers which were held captive by the New People’s Army in Far South Mindanao as “prisoners of wars” pleaded to the leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to cease its military operations because it endangers their lives.
The NPA on Tuesday released an audio message and photos as proof of life of Sgt. Solaiman Calocop and Pfc. Samuel Garay, both belonging to the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion.
The two soldiers are under the custody of Mt. Alip Sub-Regional Operations Command. “I am appealing to my battalion commander, Ltc. Harold Argamosa, sir, and to the Armed Forces of the Philippines to cease operations because it endangers our lives. I am appealing to our government, especially to Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte to help us return to our families because my wife cannot raise our 5 children alone,” Calocop appealed.
Calocop, was captured last Feb. 2 in Sitio, in New Bantangan en route to the battalion in Sitio Lam Alis, Barangay Datal Blao, Colombio, Sultan Kudarat.
He added that he is treated well by the NPA custodial unit, noting that the NPA respects his Islamic religion.
Pfc. Samuel C. Garay, Jr. also echoed the same appeal to their battalion commander to end the military operations and appealed to Duterte for their safe release.
“I am appealing to our 39IB Battalion commander, sir, we hope that you will help us and that there will be no operation for our safety. And I am also appealing to our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to help us return to our families,” Garay said.
He added, “Do not worry because we are being treated leniently. They do not harm us or anything. That’s all and don’t worry about us here.”
He was captured by the NPA guerillas on Feb. 2 in Crossing Bantangan.
In a statement, NPA Spokesperson of Valentin Palamine Command Spokesperson Ka Dencio Madrigal said that “combat troops of the 39th IB are still operating in Sultan Kudarat while their peace and development outreach program teams continue to make peasant and Lumad communities as military garrisons.”
The military condemned the capture of the soldiers.
Major Ezra Balagtey, Eastern Mindanao Command Public Information Officer, said the two were unarmed when they were flagged down.
On Wednesday, Captain Rhyan Batchar, spokesperson of 10th Infantry Division said, a member of the CAFGU was also taken by the NPAs yesterday bringing the total number of the soldiers in NPA custody to three. (davaotoday.com)