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 released today prisoner of war S/Sgt. Bienvenido Gentugao Arguelles Jr. (of the 25th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army with Serial Number 779878) by his custodial unit under the Conrado Heredia Command-Guerilla Front 20 Operations Command.
The decision to release POW Arguelles is based on humanitarian considerations. It is in compliance with the revolutionary movement's long-standing policy of 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. By releasing him and other POWs on this ground, the revolutionary movement is giving chance for human rights and the international humanitarian law to be respected at all times.
POW Arguelles's arrest on 19 June in Sitio (sub-village) Mabatas, Barangay (village) Upper Ulip, Monkayo, Compostela Valley province should serve as a warning to all personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (regular and paramilitary) and Philippine National Police personnel who commit incursions into guerilla bases, especially those who conduct intelligence operations against the Red fighters and the masses.
It should also serve as warning to those who serve as protectors of large-scale, environmentally destructive and exploitative foreign and local firms under the pretext of Investment Defense Force and "peace and development projects", especially that the Diwalwal mining area in Monkayo town is up for total sell-out.