NPA to release 2 Bukidnon POWs; SOMO-SOPO demanded

Spokesperson, Julito Tiro Command
NPA North Central Mindanao Regional Operations Command

The New People’s Army in North Central Mindanao Region expresses its willingness to release the two prisoners of war (POWs) in Bukidnon as soon as possible, in accordance to a directive from the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. The two will no longer be subjected to the normal process of investigation and the revolutionary judicial process as a gesture of goodwill and sincerity from the revolutionary movement, in its hope for the resumption of peace talks between the NDFP and the government of the Philippines (GPH), and due to humanitarian considerations for the POWs and their families.

In order to facilitate the safe release of Privates First Class (PFC) Marnel Tagalugon Cinches and Jerrel Hapay Yorong, and to ensure the security of all who will participate in and witness the release, we call upon the military and police to implement a 10-day Suspension of Offensive Military Operations (SOMO) and Suspension of Offensive Police Operations (SOPO) starting 12:00 MN of 10 September 2014 to 12:00 MN of 20 September 2014. The scope will include the following municipalities and cities: San Fernando, Cabanglasan, Malaybalay City, Impasug-ong, Manolo Fortich and Malitbog in Bukidnon; and Claveria, Balingasag and Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental. The NPA will immediately declare its own suspension of offensive operations with the same duration and scope as soon as the GPH declares its SOMO and SOPO.

The NPA custodial unit will turn the two POWs over to third party facilitators composed of concerned GPH officials, religious leaders in the region, media representatives, peace advocates and human rights groups. We thank you for your heartfelt assistance to the respective families of the POWs and for your earnest struggle for genuine peace. The date and venue of the release will be communicated to you after the declaration of SOMO and SOPO.

We hope the Aquino government will put the safety of its soldiers first, and more importantly, that it will show its sincerity to resume peace talks with the NDFP in order to discuss and address the root causes of the people’s armed resistance.