Communists demand release of comrade arrested in Bukidnon on humanitarian grounds


THE Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) demanded the release a New People’s Army (NPA) leader arrested in Don Carlos, Bukidnon in exchange for treatment of captured soldiers as “prisoners of war” who may also be freed.

Zaldy Cañete was arrested last week by joint forces of the military and police while he was at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a hospital in Don Carlos where he was recovering from a brain surgery for a bullet wound he sustained in a firefight in Kitaotao town on May 10, the CPP said in a statement on Wednesday.

“He was under the watch of his family and hospital doctors,” the CPP said.

The CPP said that Cañete must be “expeditiously released” by the military, citing provisions under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

“[This] stipulates that persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict shall be considered for safe release on humanitarian or other grounds,” the CPP said.

It also stated that releasing any combatant who was captured during an armed conflict was a practice of humanitarian exercise, which has been observed since the World War II.

“[It is also] enshrined in the Geneva Conventions and which the NPA strictly observes,” the CPP noted.

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the resumption of peace talks with the communist rebels that were stalled after both sides accused each other of violating an agreed ceasefire. DEMPSEY REYES



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