MANILA, Philippines – Four policemen held by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Northeastern Mindanao are set to be released, more than two weeks since they were captured.
In a statement on Sunday, July 27, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said the National Democratic Front (NDF) agreed to free the policemen on the condition that a five-day ceasefire in six towns of Surigao del Norte will be observed.
On July 10, communist rebels attacked a police station in Surigao del Norte and took 4 cops as “prisoners of war (POWs).”
The rebels identified their prisoners as Police Officer 3 Vic Calubag Concon, Police Officer 1 Rey O’niel Morales, Police Officer 1 Joen Zabala and Police Officer 1 Edito Roquino.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas said the NDF in North Eastern Mindanao Region (NDF-NEMR) agreed to substantially reduce their conditions for the safe release of the cops.
He said the group originally asked for a 10 day-ceasefire in Surigao City and 14 municipalities in the mainland of Surigao del Norte.
“We have talked with the NDF about the release of the four policemen since the NDF scrubbed the turnover scheduled for June 25,” Roxas said.
“On Saturday, July 26, the NDF-NEMR informed Secretary Roxas through an emissary that the NPA units holding the four policemen are amenable in releasing their captives if government security forces will agree on a five-day ceasefire covering six towns in Surigao del Norte, namely Placer, Bacuag, Tubod, Gigaquit, Alegria and Claver,” Surigao del Norte Governor Sol Matugas added.
Peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) remain at a standstill. Roxas and Matugas reiterated their commitment to a peaceful resolution of issues between the government and the rebel group. – Rappler.com