NDF orders release of Comval Gov's police escort, 71st IB soldier

Ruby Del Mundo
NDFP-Southern Mindanao
May 9, 2013

The National Democratic Front Southern Mindanao has ordered the Comval-Davao Gulf Sub-Regional Command New People's Army to undertake the release of its two Prisoners of War (POWs) in response to the humanitarian appeal by the prisoners' families, representatives from the local GPH units, and peace advocates.

To expedite the implementation of this release order of POWs 71st Infantry Battalion member Private First Class Jesus Tomas and Senior Police Officer 2 Allan Mariquit Pansoy, the 10th ID-AFP must reciprocate by immediately effecting a suspension of all offensive military and police operations in Maco, Mabini, Nabunturan, Mawab and Pantukan towns that are being considered by the NPA custodial unit as possible release site.

A SOMO and a SOPO are requisites to ensure the safe and orderly process of the release of the POWs to the ICRC and concerned members of GPH provincial officials and church leaders who shall then turn over the POWs to their respective families.

The NDF reiterates that the NPA will remain in active defense to protect itself from treacherous military operations, as in the case of the NPA's killing of two soldiers in Kitaotao, Bukidnon yesterday May 8 that attempted to disrupt the release of Prisoner of War Arakan policeman PO3 Maula Tato Ali in North Cotabato.

The GPH SOMO and SOPO in selected areas in Compostela Valley should include the AFP's combat support and special operations bearing the facade of "peace and development" operations.

If and when the GPH orders a SOMO/SOPO, the POWs custodial unit shall undertake the release procedures after it has verified the AFP and the PNP's compliance on the ground.

The impending release of the POWs is an act of political authority and gesture of goodwill in direct contrast to the GPH's recent obstinate and arrogant repudiation of the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations.

It is idiotic for Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles to say that the NDF, NPA and the Communist Party of the Philippines "should have a clear agenda for ending violence and bringing peace to the people."

The arrest of POW Police officer Pansoy in an NPA checkpoint, April 28, reflected the NPA's consistent compliance to the people's defense guidelines banning armed politicians and campaigners in revolutionary territories. On the other hand, the arrest of POW Army soldier Tomas, April 24, demonstrated the NPA's commitment in exacting revolutionary justice against a fascist AFP unit responsible for killing and wounding of children under the pretext of "legitimate encounter" with the NPA. The NDF had also suspended criminal proceedings against Tomas even as it remains committed to pursue revolutionary justice for slain peasant child Roque Antivo.

Both arrests of the POW and now with the forthcoming unconditional release of these two members of the AFP/PNP are acts that were clearly committed in the interest of civilians, forge peace and order in guerrilla bases and guerrilla zones, and tackle the issue of justice and retribution.

For Deles to say that the peace process requires the cessation of hostilities is merely to echo the rotten line peddled by her predecessors and the GPH itself. The NPA's punitive actions, tactical offensives and special operations bring justice in a society ruled with injustice. These acts address the roots of the armed conflict and reflect the NDF's application of the principles and laws of human rights and international humanitarian law in the course of the country's long-running civil war.

It is Deles who is in a "disconnect" to the very issues that the peace process seek to address to. By "advising" to abandon negotiations at the national level and by absurdly campaigning for a "new approach" through "localized peace process," Deles has shown that indeed, she is very much disconnected with the aspirations of ordinary Filipinos: an escape from the clutches of fascism, exploitation and oppression of the ruling system.