COMPOSTELA VALLEY (MindaNews / 4 Nov) – PFC Marjon Anover locked his mother in a tight embrace while PFC Nino Alabaso heaved a sigh of relief after the New People’s Army (NPA) released them Tuesday afternoon in a hinterland community in the province.
Añover and Alabaso, both 23, of the 25th Infantry Battalion, were detained by the rebel group for over a month after they were captured at an NPA checkpoint in Casoon, Monkayo in Compostela Valley.
Lucia Anover, mother of PFC Marjon Anover (right), holds the hand of PFC Niño Alabaso as the latter narrates his experience with the New People’s Army during his 33 days in captivity. MindaNews photo by Toto Lozano
The soldiers, who were called “prisoners of war” by the NPA, recalled they were on their way to the initial patrol base in Casoon from the 25IB’s Camp Kalaw located in Poblacion Monkayo at the time of their arrest.
Based on the order of release signed by a certain Ruby Delmondo, representative of NPA-Southern Mindanao Region, which was read by Toni Tabar, spokesperson for Comval-North Davao and South Agusan Subregional Command, the two soldiers were freed after the judicial process undertaken with respect to the policy stated in the 1949 Geneva Convention.
Geneva Convention is “a series of treaties on the treatment of civilians, prisoners of war (POWs) and soldiers who are otherwise rendered hors de combat, or incapable of fighting.”
“Subay sa judicial process, napamatud-an nga sila igo ra nagtuman sa kamandoan (Based on the judicial process, it was found out that the two were just carrying out orders),” Tabar read.
The two claimed they were unscathed and that they were treated well by the NPA combatants even if they were coming from the opposing forces.
“Katong bag-o pa me nadakpan, nahadlok gyud kaayo mi. Pero human ang pila ka weeks nawala na among kahadlok. Daghan mi natun-an bahin sa ila nga naa sila ginasunod na policy. Ang ilang ginapaglaban dili lang para sa ila pero para sa tanan nga naglisod (When we had just been captured, we really feared for our lives. After weeks, our fear was gone. We learned a lot about them that they follow a certain policy. They’re fighting not just for themselves but all those who are suffering),” Añover said.
Alabaso added that they learned about the cause that the rebel group is fighting for.
“We learned more discipline and respect for others. They don’t only fight for their own welfare but also for others,” he said.
Añover’s mother Lucia said she learned about the release of her son on Monday evening.
Añover is a resident of Talikud Island of Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) and Alabaso hails from Bacolod in Lanao del Norte.
Alabaso’s family, along with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, was waiting for his arrival at Camp Panacan on Tuesday afternoon. The two former captives were brought to Camp Panacan on board a helicopter.
Duterte, who he is a supporter of the NPA’s ideology, facilitated the release of the soldiers from the hands of the rebel group.
“Matawag gyud nato revolution sa tao pinaagi sa NPA. Karon mihangyo ko kay mohangyo man gyud ng militar nga mahimong matabangan ang bihag. (This is people’s revolution through the NPA. Now, I facilitated the soldiers’ release because the military would ask me to),” he said.