ZAMBOANGA CITY: The New People’s Army on Monday released on “humanitarian consideration” five policemen whom they captured more than a week ago during in a raid in Davao City, southern Philippines, Rubi del Mundo, spokesman for the NPA, said.
The captives were handed over to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who is running for president in the May 9 synchronized local and national elections.
Del Mundo stressed that the release of Chief Inspector Leonardo V. Tarungoy, PO3 Rosenie L. Cabuenas, PO3 Rudolf Y. Pacete, PO3 Abdul Azis A. Ali, Jr., and PO2 Neil C. Arellano was largely due to “humanitarian consideration to the appeals of peace-loving organizations acting on behalf of the families and relatives of the prisoners of war.”
The policemen were captured April 16 in the village of Salapawan, in Davao City’s Paquibato district, where rebels attacked and overran an army post manned by the 72nd Infantry Battalion.
The rebels earlier released videos of the prisoners the showed the policemen appealing to the government to halt the military shelling and suspension of police operations in Davao for fear they would be killed in the continuing assault.
The safe release of the prisoners also coincided with the 43rd anniversary of the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
The rebels have been fighting the government for decades now in an effort to put up a separate communist state in the Philippines.
“The entire revolutionary movement in Southern Mindanao and the whole of the Philippines congratulates the 1st Pulang Bagani Battalion in their safe custody of the five POWs in the face of the so-called rescue operations of government troops in Paquibato, Davao City,” Del Mundo said.
He said rebel forces are still holding 11 prisoners of war in southern Philippines.
Del Mundo also appealed to the public to support mass protests being held by hungry farmers in Mindanao, whose rice field and plantations were devastated by severe drought caused by the El Niño weather phenomena. He encouraged other victims of calamities who have been neglected by the Aquino administration to join the protests, not only in Mindanao but elsewhere in the country to dramatize their demand for justice.
“These militant actions are not only necessary, but also just in exposing the rottenness of the ruling reactionary regime while generating popular support from Filipinos here and abroad,” he said.
Del Mundo also criticized presidential candidate Mar Roxas, of the ruling Liberal Party, and urged voters to reject the former Interior secretary’s political ambition “who shamefacedly distorts history by projecting himself as the savior of victims during the Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) calamity.”
“As the May 9 election draws near, the reactionaries currently bickering to be the next ruling clique should face the issues plaguing the Filipino masses squarely, not least the immediate and just demands of the masses in Mindanao,” he said.
He added, “As for the entire revolutionary movement in Southern Mindanao and the rest of the country, we will continue the national democratic revolution as the only viable alternative to the derelict semi-feudal and semi-colonial system victimizing the Filipino people.”
Typhoon Yolanda had killed more than 6,000 people in central Philippines, the most devastated by the calamity that struck the Philippines in 2013. AL JACINTO