NDFP Media Office
5 April 2017
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) today reiterates and confirms the February 19, 2017 statement of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) directing the concerned New People’s Army (NPA) units to expedite the release of the six (6) captured prisoners of war (POWs) still in their custody as a “positive gesture” for the ongoing fourth round of the GRP-NDFP peace talks.
In fact, pursuant to the said CPP directive, the process of releases was immediately initiated. Last March 25, two (2) POWs, paramilitary members Rene Doller and Mark Nocus, captured in Lupon, Davao Oriental on February 14, were already released by their NPA custodial force to the members of the Third Party Facilitators and Independent Humanitarian Mission (TPFIHM) in Mati City, Davao Oriental.
The four (4) remaining POWs
- PFC Edwin Salan, captured in Alegria, Surigao del Norte on January 29;
- Sgt. Solaiman Calucop captured in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat
on February 2;
- PFC Samuel Garay, also captured in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat
on February 2; and
- PO2 Jerome Natividad, captured in Talakag, Bukidnon on February 9
would have also been released in earnest but for the continuous and heightened AFP operations in the provinces where they were captured, which is not only hampering the release but even placing the lives and safety of the said captured combatants and their respective NPA custodial forces as well as facilitators in serious jeopardy.
Yet, despite the difficult circumstances, the NDFP and the respective NPA commands continue to work closely with the members of the Third Party Facilitators and Independent Humanitarian Mission for the release of the remaining four (4) POWs.
For the safe and orderly release of the POWs, as well as to facilitate the safe withdrawal of the concerned NPA custodial forces, the NDFP strongly urges the GRP to order a ten-day Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) for the AFP and Suspension of Police Operations (SOPO) for the PNP in and around the areas where the POWs will be released.
In particular, the said SOMO and SOPO should cover the following areas:
- Talakag (15 barrios)
- Lantapan (14 barrios)
- Baungon (10 barrios)
- Malaybalay City (Tampi in Mt. Kitanglad, 10 barrios)
- Pangantucan (10 barrios)
- Kalilangan (5 barrios)
- Valencia City (near Mt. Kalatungan, 10 barrios)
B. Surigao del Norte
- Surigao City
C. Agusan del Norte
D. Sultan Kudarat (not entire province, areas to follow)
E. Sarangani (not entire province, areas to follow)
F. South Cotabato (not entire province, areas to follow)
The specific details of the releases will be coordinated by the respective NPA units with the members of the TPFIHM.
Again, the positive immediate response by the GRP in this regard will create the necessary favorable condition for the safe, expeditious and orderly release of the POWs, as well as the safety of their respective families and the members of the TPFIHM, and, also the safe withdrawal of the NPA custodial forces.
The positive response of the GRP will also further the positive thrust of the ongoing round of negotiations. ###