for the release of 15 New People’s Army (NPA) prisoners of war (POW) are being
hampered by continuous Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the National
Democratic Front of the Philippines-North East Mindanao (NDFP-NEMR) said.
a statement, NDFP-NEMR said that the NPA’s Front 21B and 21C are preparing to
release the two soldiers of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion of the
Philippine Army and the 13 Civilian Active Auxiliary (CAA) troopers.
however, is hampered by the continuous military operations launched by the
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the utter disregard of AFP officials
and the Government of the Philippines (GRP) for the welfare of their troops
captured by the NPA,” NDFP-NEMR spokesperson Maria Malaya said.
first of the 15 POW was captured in an ambush by the NPA against the CAA under the command of the 29th IBPA last
November 29 in Remedios T. Romualdez town, Agusan del Norte.
other 14 POWs were captured in a raid by the
revolutionary guerrillas against the AFP detachment in Brgy. New Tubigon,
Sibagat, Agusan del Sur last December 19.
raid was made without a shot fired, prompting Defense secretary Delfin
Lorenzana to say suspect some paramilitary troopers may have colluded with the guerrillas.
itong CAFGU (Civilian Auxiliary Force Geographical Unit) na may kamag-anak na
NPA ang naging conduit para makapasok sila, para hindi mapagsuspetsahan,”
Lorenzana last December 20 said.
to the incidents, the AFP has launched “unrelenting” military operations in
different areas of the region that lasted for 25 days, Malaya said.
Philippine Air Force launch indiscriminate bombings and strafing and threaten
miners, farmers and Lumad earning a living in the said areas,” Malaya added.
the Communist Party of the Philippines said POWs are being treated humanely in accordance
with the International Humanitarian Law.
The CPP in
a December 20 statement also said they planned to release the POWs in time for
Christmas but were prevented from carrying out the plan due to the government’s
refusal to reciprocate the NPA’s unilateral ceasefire declarations during
Christmas and New Year.
Malaya said the AFP launched unrelenting military operations that only earned
six counter attacks from the NPA.
incurred several casualties from the NPA’s use of command-detonated explosives,
called on the families and relatives of the POWs as well as peace advocates to
call on President Rodrigo Duterte to suspend military operations to hasten the
release of the captured government troopers.
also challenged the AFP as well as the Philippine National Police to suspend
military and police operations to ensure the safe release of their comrades. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)