SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/22 August) — The New People’s Army will release this week five police officers held captive in the two Surigao provinces as a gesture of goodwill for the ongoing peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
“The release of the 5 POW is in response to the appeal of the 5 POW’s families with the facilitation of religious members of the different churches in the two provinces,” Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, NDFP spokesperson for Mindanao said in a statement sent to MindaNews on Sunday
“Their release signifies the revolutionary movement’s serious intent in pursuing peace talks between the NDFP and the GPH and as a gesture of goodwill for the resumption of formal talks in Oslo, Norway on August 22, 2016,” he added.
Members of the GPH and NDFP peace panels exchange pleasantries during the resumption of peace talks in Oslo, Norway on Monday (Aug. 22, 2016). Photo courtesy of Edwin Espejo/OPAPP
On July 5 this year, PO1 Richard Vaz Yu of the police station in Carmen, Surigao del Sur was abducted in Barangay San Vicente of the said town by members of the NPA Front 30 for his alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.
On July 24, PO2 Caleb Sinaca, PO3 Jayroll Bagayas and non-uniform police officer Rodrigo Angob of the Malimono (Surigao del Norte) police station and SPO3 Santiago Lamanilao of the Surigao City Police Office were taken in Barangay Cagtinae in Malimono by a team of the NPA Front 16.
They were snatched for their alleged involvement in illegal drugs and illegal gambling in Malimono and Surigao City.
Sinaca was tagged as a protector of illegal drug syndicates and illegal logging in Malimono. He is also implicated in extortion activities against small-scale miners, and in the harassment of of peasants working for his father, Dario Sinaca.
Ka Oris said the “arrests” were made by the NPA as part of its own anti-drug campaign.
The NDFP-Northeastern Mindanao Region has done preliminary investigation of the five captives and will turn over the results of the NPA’s investigation to the third party facilitator and the Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, he said.
“We congratulate the custodial forces of the New People’s Army’s Front Operational Command 30 and 16 who continue to successfully ensure the safety of the POW despite the relentless combat and community operations for peace and development (COPD) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“The custodial forces painstakingly adheres to Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian Law on the treatment of prisoners of war,” he added.
Formal peace talks between the government and the NDFP resumed on Monday in Oslo, Norway. (Roel Catoto/MindaNews)