NDFP-NEMR to release POWs on February 26

Ka Maria Malaya
26 February 2015

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in North Eastern Mindanao Region (NDFP-NEMR) confirms the release on 26 February 2015 of the three (3) Prisoners of War (POW), namely PO1 JORIE M.  AMPER, PO3 DEMOCRITO B. POLVOROSA, and PO1 MARICHEL U. CONTEMPLO, who are all currently in the custody of the New People’s Army’s Front Operational Command 16. The NDFP decided to forego the normal process of preliminary investigation and possible trial.

The release of the three POWs have been deferred thrice, first in November in time for the Pope’s visit in the Philippines, the second during the Christmas holidays and the third on the middle of January. The reason for the suspensions was the refusal of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to temporarily withdraw their troops in the target release area. The halfhearted efforts of the government’s Provincial Crisis Committee lead by Surigao Norte Gov. Sol Matugas failed to give any assurance for the safe release of the POWs.

The ardent request of the families of the 3 POWs that they be reunited with their loved ones is the chief reason for this release. They approached Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to facilitate the release of the three prisoners of war of the NPA-Surigao del Norte noting the mayor’s help in several successful and safe releases of POWs in the Southern Mindanao Region, the most recent was last January 2015. We would like to acknowledge the efforts of and thank Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and the Third Party Facilitators.

This release is also a gesture signifying the revolutionary movement’s serious intent on pursuing the peace talks between the NDFP and the GPH.

We congratulate the custodial forces of the New People’s Army’s Front Operational Command 16 who successfully ensured the safety of the POWs despite the relentless combat operations and COPD of the military troops since November 2014. They adhered religiously to the Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions and the International Humanitarian Laws on the treatment of prisoners of war.

To facilitate the orderly and safe release of the POWs, the NDFP-NEMR has reiterated the order to the NPA Custodial Force and other NPA units in the area to strictly comply with the 10-day nationally-declared CEASEFIRE, which started 12:01am of 21 February 2015 to 11:59am of 2 March 2015.

Further, the NDFP-NEMR has added a 2-day SUPPLEMENTAL LOCAL CEASEFIRE from 12:01am of 3 March 2015 to 11:59pm of 4 March 2015.  This Supplemental Ceasefire Order covers only the towns of Claver and Gigaquit, both of Surigao del Norte.

We reiterate that the CEASEFIRE is to:  1) avoid any potential encounter between the NPA Custodial Force and operating units of the AFP, PNP and Cafgu, 2) pave the way for the safe and orderly release of the 3 POWs 3) provide security and safety for the family and loved ones, members of the Third Party Facilitators and others who will attend the actual release, and 4) allow the NPA Custodial Force brief respite and withdraw safely from the area.

In compliance with this unilateral ceasefire declaration, all units of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the areas mentioned above have been ordered to cease all their offensive action against the AFP, PNP, Cafgu and other paramilitary troops.  However, they shall remain vigilant and in defensive mode.

For their part, it is understood that during both the aforementioned nationally-declared and supplemental ceasefire periods, the AFP, PNP, Cafgu and other paramilitary units in the same area shall reciprocate.#