CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano on Friday turned over to the military a soldier held captive by the New People’s Army (NPA) for four months.
Private First Class Jess Adonis Lupeba, 26, of the Army’s 58th Infantry Battalion, was released in the outskirts of Kaulayawan village, 14 kilometers south of the coastal town of Sug-bongcogon on Friday. The soldier was released to Emano and the third party committee led by Iglesia Filipina Independiente Bishop Felixberto Calang, of the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform.
Ka Allan Juanito, spokesperson of the NPA Northern Mindanao Region, said the release of Lupeba showed the intention of the National Democratic Front to urge the government to resume peace negotiations with the government.
The NPA rebels captured Lupeba during a firefight with government troops in the mountain village of Alagatan in Gingoog City on July 11. He was released after 132 days in captivity.
Lupeba said he was not harmed during his captivity.
“As a captive, my hands were chained and I was guarded 24/7, but given the liberty to move around. My personal necessities were duly respected,” he said.
Bishop Calang said that Lupeba’s release was smooth because the military, through Maj. Gen. Oscar Lactao, the commander of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division in Northern Mindanao, fully cooperated.
Lt. Col. Jose Nembra, commanding officer of the Army’s 58th IB, welcomed Lupeba and promised that the soldier could join his wife while the military starts processing his return.
Lupeba was met by his teary-eyed wife Henny Lou, parents, and relatives amid a joy- ful reunion in Sugbongco- gon town.