NDF sets release of cops captured in Surigao Norte raid

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/21 July) – Four policemen who were taken captives by New People’s Army rebels during the raid in Alegria, Surigao del Norte on July 10 have been scheduled for release on July 25, the National Democratic Front-Mindanao said in a statement Sunday.

The statement signed by NDF-Mindanao spokesperson Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos however said the release of PO3 Vic Calubag Concon, PO1 Rey O’niel Morales, PO1 Joen B. Zabala and PO1 Edito F. Roquino will depend on the “security situation”.

“The date of the release is set on 25 July 2014, Friday, in a location we shall disclose in future time. The release will only be possible if the situation warrants it, where the NPA Custodial Force, the POWs themselves, the receiving 3rd party facilitators and all those who will be present, including the media, shall be completely out of harm’s way,” Madlos said.

He said that to ensure the safe release of the captives military operations should be suspended “from noon of until 1 week after the actual date of release, in the mainland towns of Surigao del Norte, including Surigao City and the municipalities Kitcharao, Jabonga and Santiago of Agusan del Norte , and that all evacuees from these areas are able to return safely to their respective barangays”.

Madlos said the suspension of military operations was necessary for the preparations of the release such as communications with third party facilitators and families.

He said the NPA will declare its own “temporary ceasefire covering the aforementioned areas” once the Armed Forces of the Philippines declares a suspension of military operations.

He said the rebel group will cancel the release if military operations would continue three days before July 25 for the safety of the captives and the NPA unit holding them.

“We intentionally skipped the preliminary investigation and possible trial of the 4 POWs under the revolutionary judicial system to release them as a goodwill gesture for the resumption of the GPH-NDFP peace talks and for humanitarian consideration of the POWs themselves and their families,” Madlos said.

But he said that if the government could not meet the conditions the NPA may “terminate the release” and subject the captives to a “trial”. (MindaNews)