NDFP lauds safe release of POW, extends thanks to Senator Biazon and Church leaders

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

The Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines warmly congratulates the responsible organs and personnel of the revolutionary movement for successfully carrying out the safe and orderly release of prisoner of war Major Neptune Elequin. We express our heartfelt thanks to Senator Rodolfo Biazon, Bishop Solito Toquero and Fr. Ele for bravely lending their assistance in the safe and orderly release.

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

The Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines warmly congratulates the responsible organs and personnel of the revolutionary movement for successfully carrying out the safe and orderly release of prisoner of war Major Neptune Elequin. We express our heartfelt thanks to Senator Rodolfo Biazon, Bishop Solito Toquero and Fr. Ele for bravely lending their assistance in the safe and orderly release.

The difficulties and dangers were greater because the Arroyo regime and its generals obstinately refused to issue the Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) and Suspension of Police Operations (SOPO) usually required for a safe and orderly release. The brutal military commands of Generals Palparan and Tolentino and widespread killings of activists in the region increased the risks. Yet, in response to the appeals of Elequin’s family and friends, and as a gesture of goodwill to the AFP and PNP officers and men who oppose the Arroyo regime, the revolutionary movement decided to release Major Elequin on humanitarian grounds.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) were ready to release Major Elequin much earlier, after an investigation showed that there are no criminal charges against him. But the Arroyo regime refused to negotiate the safe and orderly procedure for release. It had caused the paralysis of the formal talks between the negotiating panels of the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) by refusing to comply with its obligations in accordance with peace agreements. The negotiating panels had arranged for safe releases of POWs in the past.

Instead, Arroyo and Generals Palparan and Tolentino intensified military operations that attacked the masses and posed dangers to Major Elequin and his custodians. The NPA custodial force, however, made sure that he would be safe and out of the line of fire. All throughout his captivity, he was accorded humane treatment. This is in accordance with the NPA’s longstanding policy of lenient treatment towards POWs, its adherence to the Geneva Conventions and Protocol I and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

It is clear that the revolutionary movement respected and cared for Major Elequin’s rights as a POW, safeguarded his life, and listened to the appeals of his family and friends. In contrast, the Arroyo regime and its generals did not give a damn about him.

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