On the release of the first batch of Agusan 16 POWs
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF-NEMR) commends New People’s Army (NPA)-Agusan del Sur for the safe and orderly release of six out of 16 POWs captured on its successful tactical offensive on a CAFGU-AFP detachment in Brgy. New Tubigon, Sibagat, Agusan del Sur last December 19, 2018.
NDFP-NEMR likewise commends NPA-Agusan del Sur for its strict compliance with articles of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights (CAHRIHL), international guidelines on protocols of war and its own rules and regulations on fair treatment of POWs during their almost two months in captivity.
The release is the first in a series of releases per ongoing negotiations between the NDFP- NEMR and representatives of the Government of the Philippines (GPH).
NDF-NEMR would also like to thank and recognize the efforts of the Third Party Facilitators, headed by Bishop Timbang of the IFI-Surigao and Bishop Villasanta of UCCP-Butuan.
The release of the 1st batch of Agusan16 affirms NDFP-NEMR’s consistent position in support of the resumption of the GPH-NDFP peace talks. It is the region’s contribution as a goodwill and sincere measure by the revolutionary movement for the re-opening of the formal peace talks between the GPH and the NDFP, contrary to localized peace talks being proposed and propagated by the Duterte government.
NDFP-NEMR reiterates it opposition to and refusal to participate in localized peace talks, denies any and all claims that it had participated in such talks and remains firm in its stand that the sole aim of so-called localized peace talks is to force the revolutionary movement into surrender or capitulation.
Today’s safe and orderly release of the 1st batch of Agusan16 is a clear and present recognition of the revolutionary movement’s status of belligerency despite and in spite of continuous military attacks on the NPA and its mass bases in the region and the ongoing counter-revolutionary martial law in Mindanao.
NDFP-NEMR is optimistic that the next batch of release/s shall also be commenced in a safe and orderly manner, provided that the GPH and the military comply with requisites and agreed upon with regard the Agusan16.
NDFP-NEMR also calls on the GPH to provide the same fair and just treatment to NPA POWs and political prisoners, especially NDFP consultants.
It calls for an end to intensified attacks on Lumad and peasant communities characterized by indiscriminate aerial bombardments, harassme