Surigao Norte declares 10-day ceasefire to pave way for cops’ release by NPA

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 Jan) – The provincial government of Surigao del Norte, through its Provincial Crisis Management Committee, has sought a 10-day extension of the ceasefire between communist rebels and government troops.

This is to pave way for the negotiations for the safe release of the three abducted police personnel in the province.

Atty. Premolito Plaza, the provincial administrator, has issued a press statement on Monday saying that they have continuously exerted efforts for the immediate and safe release of the three Philippine National Police personnel in Surigao del Norte who are still held captive by the New People’s Army (NPA) for over two months now.

The Provincial Crisis Management Committee, in a resolution, recommended a 10-day extension of the ceasefire at the local level, particularly in the areas of Claver, Gigaquit, Bacuag and Alegria.

“The Provincial Crisis Management Committee (PCMC) has been continuously doing concerted efforts for the immediate release of the abducted police personnel,” he said in a press statement released the other day.

PO1 Jonry M. Amper was taken in Malimono town last Nov. 12 while PO3 Democrito Polvorosa Jr. and PO1 Marichel Unclara Contemplo were seized in Alegria town last Nov. 16.

The ceasefire during the holidays announced by Malacañang has already expired at the midnight of January 19.

The captive cops were supposed to be freed by the custodial forces of the NPA before Christmas but the NPA backed out because military presence in the hinterlands continued despite the pronouncement of Suspension of Military Operations, according to Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, spokesperson of CPP-NPA-NDF-Mindanao,

The communist rebels also asked the government for another ceasefire from January 6 to 19 to pave way for the release but Madlos claimed military presence persisted over Gigaquit, thus the release was cancelled.

The communists have yet issue their response on the 10-day extension.

Senior Supt. Julito Diray, police provincial director, said he hopes this would result in the release of the kidnapped PNP personnel.

“That’s the consensus of all committees and we have to support it,” Diray said in a text message.

Lt. Col. Arsenio Sadural, commanding officer of 30th Infantry Battalion based in Bad-as, Placer town, said he supported the PCMC’s resolution.

He said he signed the PCMC resolution as a member, but it is subject to the decision of his commanders.

Families and relatives of the captive cops have been longing to see their loved ones.

“It’s been more than two months now. I hope the military would pull out their troops this time,” Mary Jane Longos, sister-in-law of PO1 Democrito Polvorosa, said of the NPA’s demand for the military to clear the way.

Longos said she can’t bear the suffering of her sister and the policeman’s parents.