06 May NPA Released Remaining 4 POWs
Last Tuesday, May 3, the New People’s Army (NPA) freed the remaining 4 captives in their possession, 2 days after the release of Senior Police Officer 4 Renie Rombo.
They are Private First Class Glen Austria, Diven Tawide of the 23rd Infantry battalion, Senior Police Officer 1 Warren Coñales, and PO3 Edwin Castor.
The discharge of the hostages is made separately in Impasug-ong town in Bukidnon, and in San Luis, Agusan del Sur. This has been done through the help of Cagayan de Oro Archdiocese Archbishop Antonio Ledesma and Iglesia Filipina Independiente’s Bishop Felixberto Calang.
National Democratic Front of the Philippines-North Central Mindanao Command (NDFP-NCMC) spokesperson Alan Juanito said that the release of the POWs is a proof that their group is genuine in their aim for the dreamed peace talks.
“There were suggestions that the peace talk should start from the local level, but it is already done at the local level, the ball now is in [the hands of] the national government,” Juanito said.
Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri and some local officials also came to witness the turnover.
“We are all happy that the policemen were given the right to go home,” said Zubiri.
Ka Owen of the NPA’s custodial force said, “We have provided sufficient medical care, even though we walked for 13 days, we always checked on our POWs’ state of health,” observing the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
To get the POWs injured as Ka Owen said is unlawful, “That would be a nightmare and a violation of the protocols of war.”
Juanito warned that the kidnappings will continue as long as peace talks are not materialized. He is grateful that Colonel Jesse Alvarez is very responsive to have the negotiations initiated.
They were held by the NPA on a separate occasion in Northern Mindanao on April 3 together with Rombo.
A routine debriefing has been conducted for the 4 security personnel by their commander before they can return to their camps.