THE NEW PEOPLE’S Army (NPA)-North Eastern Mindanao Region (NEMR) successively released 16 prisoners of war (POWs) on February 14-19.
In the first batch, the NPA-Agusan del Sur released six members of the CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA) on February 14 in Barangay San Juan, Bayugan, Agusan del Sur.
In the second batch, the NPA released PFC AJ Reginald Kiem of the 1st Special Forces Battalion (SFB) and CAA Bernabe Sahanay on February 18 in Sitio Kaunlaran, Barangay Tagbongabong, Remedios T. Romualdez in Agusan Del Norte.
In the third batch, the NPA released Cpl. Eric Bulado Manangan and PFC Darlino Alipayo Cariño of the 3rd SFB, together with six other CAA members on February 19 in Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur. The eight are among the 14 soldiers and CAA members captured by the NPA without firing a shot in its raid against a detachment of the 3rd SFB in Barangay New Tubigon, Sibagat, Agusan del Sur on December 19.
The doctor who checked the prisoners up said that the latter were in good shape. The soldiers and CAA members were received by local government officials of Agusan del Sur and religious leaders, led by Sr. Emma Teresita Cupin, who served as third-party facilitators. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and Sebastian Duterte, Rodrigo Duterte’s representatives, also attended the program.
“We thank the NPA for attending to us in the mountains. They did not hurt us. Profuse thanks to all the Red fighters,” said Janjan Iligan, one of the prisoners.
“We are thankful because we suffered not a scratch,” added Jemuel Acebedo, another prisoner. He also thanked the NPA for facilitating the release despite continuing military operations.
Ka Arina Magdiwang, commander of the the unit-in-charge, said that the release was a response to the appeal of various groups and individuals who expressed their support for its facilitation.