Ka Parago releases 5 POWs in Paquibato

Rubi del Mundo
NDFP-Southern Mindanao
July 31, 2013

Upon the orders of the National Democratic Front Southern Mindanao, Ka Parago, spokesperson of the 1st Pulang Bagani Battalion of the New People's Army released its five prisoners of war today, July 31, 2013 at around 4pm in a village in Paquibato district, Davao city.

Released after 44 days in detention were  Cpl. Emmanuel Quezon (serial no. 827510), Pfc. Vernie Padilla (SN 898234), Pvt. Marteniano Pasigas (SN 901766), Pfc. Ronald Gura (SN 898248), and Pfc. Donato Estandian (SN 893670).

The five POWs belong to the 60th Infantry Battalion who were tried by the people's revolutionary court for cases of harassment, intimidation and other violations against the peasant and Lumad masses by the 10thID-Philippine Army in Paquibato district.

In its Order of Release, Rubi del Mundo, NDF spokesperson said the release was  in compliance with the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949 and its Protocols and pursuant to the decision taken by the organs of the People’s Democratic Government.

Del Mundo cited the following considerations for the release order for each of the five POWs:

“After the capture of the prisoner, he has been investigated by responsible organs of the Detaining Power and no sufficient evidence has been established to warrant his prosecution for serious crimes committed against the Filipino people and the revolutionary movement.”

“The prisoner’s release is being ordered in compliance with the NDFP’s long-standing policy of lenient treatment of prisoners of war and its Declaration of Undertaking to Apply the Provisions of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and Protocol I Thereto dated July 5, 1996 which was deposited with the Swiss Federal Council as official  depositary of said instrument and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.”

The NDF also said the Release Order was “an act in the exercise of the political power and authority of the People’s Democratic Government and is done on humanitarian grounds.”

It added that the NDFP’s act of goodwill was also a “favorable response to the appeals of the families of the POWs and the request of well-meaning parties and personages that have expressed support for a negotiated settlement on the issue of Prisoners of War within the purview of the CARHRIHL and the Geneva Conventions and its Protocols.”

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was on hand to receive the five POWs.