ZAMBOANGA CITY: Communist insurgents have freed two policemen and two government soldiers following appeals made by their families and religious groups in southern Philippines, authorities said Wednesday.
It said SPO3 Warren Coñales, of the Impasug-ong Police Station in Bukidnon province, and PO3 Edwin Castor, of the Wao Police Station in Lanao del Sur province, were released late Tuesday afternoon along with Privates First Class Devin Tawide and Glenn Austria.
The policemen and soldiers had been released separately through Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, of Cagayan de Oro Archdiocese, and Bishop Felixberto Calang, of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, who acted as third-party facilitator for the safe release of the “prisoners of war” in Bukidnon and Agusan del Sur.
The New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, described their captives as prisoners of war. The communist insurgents have been fighting the government for decades now in separate operations in the provinces for the establishment of a Maoist state.
The freed security personnel are restricted to their camps until they are done with the routine debriefing by their commanders. AL JACINTO