LAS NIEVES, Agusan del Norte (MindaNews / 01 January) – The New People’s Army released an Army soldier they held captive for 104 days to Davao City mayor and Presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte and religious leaders on New Year’s eve, December 31.
Ricardo Manili of the NPA guerilla front 4A said the National Democratic Front released Army Corporal Adriano Bingil as “an act of goodwill and humanitarian consideration “ for the resumption of the stalled peace talks between the government and the rebels.
Bingil was captured by the rebels while driving a motorcycle in Barangay Mahagsay, San Luis town in Agusan del Sur last Sept. 19, 2015.
He was reunited with his mother Myrna, wife Genalyn, and their two daughters, eight-year old Precious and two-year old Phoebe.
“Though I was handcuffed every time, the rebels treated me well during my 104 days of captivity,” Bingil told reporters after he was released.
He said he would like to go back to soldiering and to return to his mother Army unit, the 28th Infantry Battalion.
Duterte said he was glad the rebels released Bingil, whose family sought his help.
“His release is timely considering tonight is already New Year. It will be a happy reunion with his family, “ he said.
Duterte reiterated the call of the NDF for a resumption of peace talks adding this would end 47 years of bitter fighting between the government and the rebels.
He said no country will progress if it remainsdivided by a brutal war in the country sides.
For his part, Bishop Felixberto Calang of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente and convenor of the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform said it was the right gift for the Bingil family.
“The family has suffered for 104 days and this is beautiful ending,” Calang said.
The presence of Duterte, who arrived on a private helicopter, thrilled residents of this hinterland village, 30 kilometers south of Butuan City.
Saturnino Kipkipan, Barangay Durian chair, said he was happy that they were able to see and hear Duterte whom they heard so much about through the radio.
He said only the posters of Liberal Party contenders Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo have reached their village.
“Now we can see and hear from the presidential aspirant himself, Kipkipan said.
Kipkipan said the NPA rebels arrived in their village on Wednesday night and their presence brought fear to the residents.
He said the rebels managed to allay the fears of the villagers who readily consented having their village as venue for Bingil’s release.
“We realized the humanitarian consideration and we are happy to see the reunion of Bingil and his family,” he said.
Duterte brought Bingil back to the Army’s 4th Infantry advance command post in Bancasi, Butuan City where he presented the soldier to Brig. Gen. Paul Atal, assistant division commander.
Capt. Patrick Martinez, 4ID spokesperson, said Bingil will be returned to his mother unit, the 28th IB, and his family after a through medical check-up by Army doctors. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)