Rebels free cop taken at Misamis ‘checkpoint’
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—After more than a month of negotiations with church leaders and local government officials, communist rebels on Monday released one of several policemen they seized at road checkpoints they set up in three provinces in Mindanao.
SPO4 Rene Rombo, who was taken by a New People’s Army (NPA) unit in Medina, Misamis Oriental, was freed in Barangay Banglay, Lagonglong town, also in the same province.
The turnover was facilitated by a certain Ka Maya of the NPA’s Eastern Misamis Oriental and Northeastern Bukidnon Command and Gov. Yevgeny Vicente Emano, who received the policeman.
Rombo is the first to be released after third-party facilitators, headed by the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP) and local government officials, coordinated with the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the NPA.
Bishop Felixberto Calang of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente and PEPP coconvener said he was thankful for the coordination of all concerned parties, and to Emano, who heads the local crisis committee, for his active efforts to finalize the negotiations.
Earlier, the rebels had demanded a suspension of police and military operations for the safe passage of the NPA custodial team. The PNP and AFP responded by ordering a “stand down” of its forces in areas identified by the rebels as their custodial team’s routes and venue of the turnover.
Today, the NPA is expected to turn over SPO1 Warren Coñales and PO3 Edwin Castor in Bukidnon and Privates First Class Glenn Austia and Diven Abion Tawide in one of the Agusan provinces, Calang said. Jigger J. Jerusalem, Inquirer Mindanao
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