Nojapa told the media that he was not harmed, “not even a pinch” while in the hands of the rebels. He said he was treated well, and that an NPA medic attended to him daily to check on his health. He said the NPAs followed and respected his rights.
Davao Today

Mawab, Compostela Valley —Police Officer 3 Ruben Nojapa, Jr, the latest Prisoner of War (POW) held by the New People’s Army (NPA), was released Tuesday, after 15 days in captivity.

It was just last February when the NPAs released a soldier and a police held as POWs for 35 days in Compostela Valley.

Nojapa was reunited with his wife Gertrudes and their children, including a one-year-old grandaughter at the release site, around 2:30 pm.

Davao City Acting Mayor Rodrigo Duterte flew in at the release site onboard a chopper and received Nojapa from the NPA’s Comval-Davao Gulf Sub-Regional Command.

Three stations were designated to facilitate the release: relatives and the media were at station 3, while local government officials were at station 2.

Duterte, upon arrival went to station 1 to fetch PO3 Nojapa, and brought the families to Station 2 where he met briefly with the media.

Nojapa told the media that he was not harmed, “not even a pinch” while in the hands of the rebels. He said he was treated well, and that an NPA medic attended to him daily to check on his health. He said the NPAs followed and respected his rights.

Nojapa’s wife Gertrudes told reporters that they were worried earlier after receiving a call from a relative that her husband had died of hypertension.  However, she felt relieved after having a chance to talk to her husband on cellphone.

Duterte meanwhile thanked the NPAs for “abiding by the protocol, “saying that they treated their captive well.”

Duterte afterwards took Nojapa with him in the chopper and brought him to the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Catitipan.

He was readily received when the chopper landed and placed on a wheelchair.

Nojapa managed to give a few statements to the media before he was immediately wheeled away by his escorts.

He reiterated that he did not get hurt while in the hands of the NPAs. He also said, “it was proven that he has not committed any offense.”

An earlier statement of the National Democratic Front’s (NDF) cited that their decision to release Nojapa was “based on purely humanitarian grounds in the wake of the appeal made by Nojapa’s family and peace advocates.”

Nojapa, according to the NDF was “investigated by the responsible organ of the NPA custodial force” and that “no sufficient evidence was established to warrant his prosecution for serious crimes committed against the Filipino people and the revolutionary movement.”

Nojapa was captured by the NPA on March 18 in Barangay Mainit, Nabunturan town in Compostela Valley.

The NDF earlier enjoined the Armed Forces of the Philippines “to cease its offensive military operations” to pave the release of Nojapa, a request that was however, rejected by the AFP.

‘Delivery boy’
In his interview with the media, Mayor Duterte said he came because of the family’s request for assistance. “I did it for my fellowmen. No big deal about that. Kapwa tao.”

He said he has been acting as “delivery boy” pulling out prisoners from the mountains for the nth time. And for that, he jested he would start billing the police and NPA.

Beginning today, giingnan nako, i-bill nako sila. Kada naa koy kuhaong pulis, pabayron nako ang PNP. Tunga sila. Kay NPA, ako man puy pangitaon para ihatag. So, 50-50 sila sa fees, pambayad ba lang sa gasolina, helicopter ug kahago (Beginning today, I told them I will give them the bill.  Because when the (NPAs) capture a police, I would ask the PNP to foot the bill.  They will split (with the NPAs).  Because the NPAs will also ask me to be around for the release. So let’s make a 50-50 split, just to pay the fuel, the helicopter and the effort) ,” he jested.

Asked how much would it be, Duterte replied, “Maybe 100,000 pesos to divide among them, 50-50.”

Aside from Duterte, the mayors of Mawab, Nabunturan and Maco towns in Compostela Valley province were also present at the release site, including a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and members of the church-based movement for the NDF-GPH peace talks called “Sowing the Seeds of Peace.”

“A confidence-building measure’

Iglesia Filipina Indepiendente Bishop Delfin Callao, Jr., convenor of the Sowing the Seeds of Peace, in a statement, cited that they have done the act of facilitating the release of Prisoners of War of the NPA “as a commitment to the church’s integral ministry for safekeeping the rights and welfare of people captured in the course of the country’s civil war.”

Callao said they see the NDF’s move as “a sincere confidence-building measure that, if reciprocated accordingly by the Philippine government, may bode well for the resumption of the peace talks.”

Callao said they are hopeful that the Philippine government “could redeem itself in the serious quest for just and lasting peace, and call for the resumption of the GPH-NDFP peace talks in order for the discussion on the Comprehensive Agreement for Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) “to move forward.”

“We believe that CASER will address the root cause of the long running civil war in the country. Among others the CASER, alongside the CARHRIHL, provides solutions to the agrarian problem, environmental plunder, and worsening economic crisis that compelled the people to take up arms,” Callao said.  (With a report from Cheryll D. Fiel/

comments powered by Disqus