A Philippine Army soldier abducted by the New People’s Army (NPA) in September was released on New Year’s Eve in Agusan del Norte, military officials announced on Friday.
Army Sgt. Adriano Bingil, member of the Civil-military team of Army’s 26th Infantry Battalion, was freed by his captors in Las Nieves town on efforts of local government officials and the people of Caraga region, according to Capt. Patrick Martinez, spokesman of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division.
Bingil, who was assigned in Barangay Mahagsay, San Luis town, Agusan del Sur was with a village official when rebels flagged them down.
“Sgt Bingil was their target because they want the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) to stop their “Bayanihan” efforts for peace and development in the remote areas of Caraga region,” said Martinez.
Martinez disclosed that the release of Bingil was facilitated by local government officials led by Mayor Ronaldo Corvera of San Luis, who also headed the municipal crisis committee; Rep. Lawrence Fortun of 1st district of Agusan del Norte; and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Bingil was turned over to Brig. Gen. Paul Atal, acting commander of the 4th ID and Col. Cresente Maligmat.
“What the NPA did is plain kidnapping and it is a crime punishable by law. Nevertheless, we appreciate the gesture of them returning our soldier, hoping that they are projecting a renewed faith in peace and aspiring to resume the peace talks with the government through the NDF (National Democratic Front),” said Atal.
Maj. Jonna Dalaguit, a military doctor who examined Bingil said the released officer was experiencing both physical and mental fatigue and will be temporarily admitted to Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City.