MANILA, Philippines – The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Southern Mindanao asked the Armed Forces of the Philippines to declare a ceasefire in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley to allow the immediate release of a soldier and policeman who were abducted last Jan. 17.
The NDFP declared a four-day suspension of military offensive on February 19 to 22 in the towns of Kapalong, San Isidro, Asuncion, New Corella in Davao del Norte, and Laak in Compostela Valley, said the NDFP Southern Mindanao in a statement.
“In response to the earlier decision of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines -Southern Mindanao Region (NDFP-SMR) to release the two prisoners of war (POWs), the New People’s Army ComVal North Davao South Agusan Sub-regional Command has unilaterally declared a four-day suspension of military offensives (SOMO) on 19-22 February 2013 in the towns of Kapalong, San Isidro, Asuncion, New Corella all in Davao del Norte, and Laak in Compostela Valley,” it said.
The statement said the 10th Infantry Division AFP should reciprocate the SOMO and cease the military’s Oplan Bayanihan operations in order not to delay the release of the captives.
Private First Class Jezreel Maata Culango of the 60th Infantry Battalion and Police Officer 1 Ruel Pasion were abducted by communist rebels in Laak town on Jan. 17.
“The investigating body formed by the NDFP found the two POWs to have committed lesser offenses, and thus recommended for their release. This, however, does not prevent the revolutionary forces from initiating future arrests against the two POWs should they be found to commit crimes against the people and other human rights abuses,” it added.
While on temporary ceasefire in the areas, the NPA remains in active defensive posture against the enemy’s attacks, the NDFP also said.