Communist rebels free Army officer

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THE Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) on Saturday recognized the gesture of goodwill by the New People’s Army (NPA) for releasing an Army sergeant who has been in captivity for three months in Agusan Del Sur.

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The release of Sgt. Adriano Bingil on New Year’s Eve is a sign of gesture of peace and goodwill by the NPA, Captain Alberto Caber, chief information officer of the Eastmincom, said in a statement

“It is hoped that they will continue with such gestures of peace and goodwill by abandoning the armed struggle and putting a stop to their extortion activities and attacks against development projects,” he added.

Bingil was abducted by NPA rebels in a remote village of San Luis town, Agusan del Sur on September 19, 2016. The Army officer, who hails from Cagayan de Oro City, was on his way to send money to his family.

Bingil was snatched at gunpoint by the rebels as he was passing by an NPA roadblock in Barangay (village) Policarpio.

Bingil’s family is relieved now that he has been released by the NPA, Caber said.

Eastmincom is open to having peace talks and would accept NPA members who would like to return to mainstream society, he added.

Bingil was released by the NPA in Barangay Durian, Las Nieves, Agusan Del Norte on December 31. Iglesia Filipina Independiente Bishop Felix-berto Calang, Mayor Ronaldo Corvera of San Luis in Agusan Del Sur, and Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City were supposedly instrumental in having the Army officer released by the NPA.

Caber said the NPA’s armed capability has declined and claimed the rebels have degenerated into a lawless group. He also claimed that the members are devoid of ideology and are now engaged in criminal activities like abduction, arson and extortion.

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