By Rigoberto F. Sanchez
Spokesperson, Merardo Arce Command
NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Operational Command
The Merardo Arce Command-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command of the New People's Army has ordered the release of prisoner of war (POW) Cpl. Dominador Alegre of the 72nd Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army-Armed Forces of the Philippines for humanitarian reasons.
However, the actual date and circumstances of release shall be decided by his custodial unit, the 4th Pulang Bagani Company-NPA, in consideration of the security situation on the ground.
This is to give primordial importance to the safety of POW Cpl. Alegre, the parties who may be involved in the humanitarian mission of securing his release and his custodial unit as well as to ensure the orderly conduct of the release procedures.
In this regard, any further delay in the safe return of Cpl. Alegre to his family is being caused by the ruthless display of fascist arrogance by the 10th Infantry Division-AFP who unreasonably insists on conducting futile military rescue operations even if they achieve nothing other than trying to save face while piling up on its grim record of human rights abuses against civilians.
Recent pronouncements from the 10th ID-AFP very clearly indicate that they are only interested in blaming Cpl. Alegre for the disarming of the 72nd IB-AFP detachment but not in admitting command responsibility for the political-military debacle of Gloria Arroyo's Oplan Bantay Laya counter-revolutionary offensive in Southern Mindanao and in the whole country.
But even if the 10th ID-Eastern Mindanao Command of the AFP persists in letting loose of abusive Special Forces and the 25th IB-AFP dogs of war and obstruct the implementation of the NPA in order to release Cpl. Alegre on humanitarian grounds, the people's army shall continue to work with Cpl. Alegre's family and other well-meaning individuals and groups to find feasible ways to effect the safe and orderly release of the NPA prisoner of war.