Communist Party of the Philippines
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today congratulated the Narciso Antazo Aramil Command of the New People's Army (NPA-NAA) for yesterday's safe and orderly release of three elements of the Philippine National Police Regional Mobile Group held prisoner by the NPA in Rizal since January 3.
Shortly after noon yesterday, custody of the three prisoners of war (POWs)–Insp. Rex Contapay, PO1 Marvin Agasen, and PO1 Alberto de la Cruz–was transferred to personnel of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who carried out a brief medical checkup and found the three to be in good physical condition. Thereafter, the three were brought to their families and representatives of the Philippine government, religious leaders and other intermediaries.
The safe and orderly release of the POWs was carried out through the intercession of Sen. Jamby Madrigal, Rizal Gov. Casimiro Ynares III and other personalities who corresponded with representatives of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), and directly negotiated with the NPA and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the halting of military operations in Rizal province and adjoining areas of Laguna to ensure the safe and orderly release of the POWs.
"In carrying out the safe and orderly release of the three prisoners of war, the NPA-NAA has demonstrated to the Filipino people and the international community the serious adherence of the revolutionary forces to the Geneva Conventions and the humanitarian principles and rules of the NPA and the revolutionary movement in the course of conducting the people's war," said the CPP through its Information Bureau.
"The release of the POWs was fittingly carried out a few days before the celebration of the NPA's 40th founding anniversary, drawing attention to the NPA’s organizational, political and military capabilities, which have been instrumental in the NPA's overall advance and the victories achieved in advancing the people's war," said the CPP.
"By successfully ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the prisoners of war for close to three months, the NPA-NAA also demonstrated its high degree of respect for human rights and strict adherence to international civilized rules of war," added the CPP. "We take note of the fact that the prisoners of war were kept safe despite the relentless military operations carried out by the AFP for the past months."
"Even after the local revolutionary authorities had cleared the three POWs of any serious crime against the revolutionary movement and the people and had thus approved their release, it took almost three months before they could be freed as it took that much time to convince the AFP to halt its military operations and thus pave the way for the safe and orderly transfer of custody," added the CPP.
The three POWs were taken into custody by the NPA after their police unit was successfully ambushed by the NPA-NAA on January 3 in Rodriguez, Rizal. After their unit was pinned down, the three surrendered to the Red fighters who promptly accorded them the status of POW consistent with pertinent provisions of the Geneva Conventions, the NPA rules and peace agreements between the revolutionary movement and the government.