NPA will release 4 PNP POWs on 25 July, if security situation permits

Spokesperson, NDFP Mindanao Chapter

For the information of the 3rd party facilitators, the “Crisis Committee” of the provincial government of Surigao del Norte, the family and relatives of the prisoners of war, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, and the general public, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Mindanao (NDFP-Mindanao), in coordination with NDFP-North East Mindanao Region (NDFP-NEMR) and the New People’s Army custodial force, has decided to release the four (4) PNP personnel who were captured by the NPA as Prisoners of War in the Alegria raid on 10 July 2014, namely:

1. PO3 Vic Calubag Concon
2. PO1 Rey O’niel Morales
3. PO1 Joen B. Zabala
4. PO1 Edito F. Roquino

We intentionally skipped the preliminary investigation and possible trial of the four POWs under the revolutionary judicial system to release them as a goodwill gesture for the resumption of the GPH-NDFP peace talks and for humanitarian consideration of the POWs themselves and their families.

The date of the release is set on 25 July 2014, Friday, in a location we shall disclose in future time. The release will only be possible if the situation warrants it, where the NPA Custodial Force, the POWs themselves, the receiving 3rd party facilitators, and all those who will be present, including the media, shall be completely out of harm’s way.

To ensure the safe release of the POWs, it is necessary for the AFP, PNP and CAFGU (paramilitary Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit) to suspend all military operations, from noon of 22 July until one week after the actual date of release, in the mainland towns of Surigao del Norte, including Surigao City, and the municipalities Kitcharao, Jabonga, and Santiago of Agusan del Norte, and that all evacuees from these areas are able to return safely to their respective barangays (village).

This immediate suspension of military operations shall enable the NPA custodial force to safely fulfil the requirements for the release of the POWs, such as preparing for the venue, communications with the 3rd party facilitators and families, and other technical arrangements. Should there be continued military operations three days before the actual release, these preparations cannot effectively be undertaken, and therefore, we will cancel their release to protect the safety of the POWs and the NPA custodial force.

Furthermore, should the government fail to provide the conditions for the POW’s safe release and endanger the security of the 3rd party facilitators and the families, the custodial force of the NPA is authorized to terminate the release. Thus, preliminary investigations and possible judicial trial of the POWs shall continue.

Upon the AFP’s declaration of a suspension of military operations and other forms of military activities, including civic-military operations (CMOs) in the area, the NPA-NEMR shall reciprocate this by declaring its own temporary ceasefire covering the abovementioned areas for the safe release of the POW.