DAVAO CITY: The planned release of the four policemen captured by the New People’s Army rebels on June 10 in Surigao del Sur has been called off following the refusal of the crisis committee, which included the military, to suspend military offensives for 10 days, a ranking officer of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Mindanao said Tuesday night.
NDFP-Mindanao spokesperson Jorge Madlos said the crisis committee’s refusal to heed their call for a suspension of military operations has compromised the safety of the four cops who were declared as prisoners of war (POW) since they were captured following the daring attack of the police station of the town of Alegria, Surigao del Sur.
Major Gen. Ricardo Visaya, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, said they do not have intentions to stop all pursuit operations against the rebels who launched a successive offensives in Caraga Region. Last week, 14 rebels were killed when it conducted simultaneous attacks in the towns of Prosperidad and San Francisco towns in Agusan del Sur.
Madlos has earlier said the ceasefire from July 22 to July 31 was meant to ensure the safety of the POW and those who will be involved in their freedom. Instead the crisis committee, Madlos said, offered a one-day ceasefire or the option for the NPA to just leave the four cops in an area convenient for them.
“This is an irresponsible suggestion, inhuman, and disregards the welfare of the POW and their families,” said Madlos.
The failure to release the POW, Madlos said, is something that must be blamed on the crisis committee.
“The crisis committee is now answerable for the failure to release the four POW because it refused to recommend the declaration of a ceasefire,” said Madlos.
Still, Madlos said they continue to remain true to their earlier commitment for the revival of the peace talks and expressed willingness to release the POW, a decision also latched on humanitarian grounds.