By Al Jacinto Correspondent
The Philippine Army said communist rebels on Sunday has freed a soldier they held prisoner for over two weeks in the southern region of Mindanao.
The military said that, Private First Class Jesus Tomas, of the 71st Infantry Battalion, was safely released in Compostela Valley.
Capt. Severino Vicente David, a spokesman for the Eastern Mindanao Command, said that the soldier was taken prisoner by the New People’s Army (NPA) on April 24 while buying food at a market in Maco town.
David did not give details about the soldier’s release, but said, ”Tomas was released without military submission to the preconditions set by the National Democratic Front [NDF] as requisites of his safe and orderly turn over.”
The NDF, earlier demanded the suspension of military offensives in the province and neighboring areas against the NPA to ensure the safety of the prisoner.
“As always, such situation was exploited by them to gain propaganda mileage,” David said.
He said the freed soldier is now in military custody.
“As a standard procedure, PFC Tomas undergoes full medical check up and series of debriefing to ensure his physical health and mental state to determine his suitability for reintegration back to military service,” David said.
The NPA has been fighting for decades for the establishment of a separate Maoist state in the country.