RIGOBERTO F. SANCHEZ
Spokesperson, Merardo Arce Command
Southern Mindanao Regional Operational Command
New People's Army
The Merardo Arce Command-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command of the New People's Army has ordered the release of Cpl. Daiem Amsali Hadjaie of the 25th Infantry Battalion of the 10th Infantry Division-Armed Forces of the Philippines (Serial No. 813144) after 12 days of captivity as prisoner of war of the Conrado Heredia Command-Front 20 Operations Command-NPA. The CHC-NPA custodial unit undertakes POW Cpl. Hadjaie's safe and orderly release today, 28 November, in the guerilla territory in Compostela Valley Province.
The order to release Cpl. Hadjaie is an exercise of the revolutionary forces' own political authority and based on humanitarian grounds. This is consistent with the revolutionary movement's long-standing policy of humane and lenient treatment of POWs and its serious adherence to the NDFP Declaration of Undertaking to Apply the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Protocol 2 of 1977.
His release is giving due consideration to the appeals made by sincere individuals, a Moro organization, and allies, including local officials of the Aquino government. POW Cpl. Hadjaie's case is being archived.
Upon his capture and detention, the NPA custodial unit fully respected his rights attendant to his status as prisoner of war in consonance with the international humanitarian law and Geneva Conventions; and sensitive to his religious persuasions. He was provided his necessary health and medical care under guerilla conditions; and his well-being and safety were guaranteed inside the guerilla territories of the People's Democratic Government.
The worn-out AFP black propaganda on such NPA legitimate action as "hostage-taking" and "kidnapping" only further exposes the murderous character of the AFP and its ignorance to the protocols of war. This is not surprising for a mercenary AFP which is responsible for the torture, planting of evidence, enforced disappearances, extra judicial killings not only of captured NPA combatants but also against mass activists, plain civilians and non combatants. This is not surprising for the arrogant AFP which has launched failed rescue cum military operations that deliberately put the lives of captured AFP soldiers in danger.
Cpl. Hadjaie's safe release and reunion with his family — along with the numerous other AFP combatants held as POWs and safely released — should serve as a challenge to President Benigno Aquino III of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) to release all political prisoners in the country.
POW Cpl. Hadjaie's arrest on 16 November in sitio Mabatas, Barangay Upper Ulip, Monkayo, ComVal should serve as a warning to those who act as protectors — in the guise of AFP peace and development teams or Investment Defense Force — of big plantation, logging and destructive mining interests anywhere in the region.