Duterte cites NPA for releasing two soldiers

MAYOR RODRIGO DUTERTE yesterday thanked the New People’s Army for being quick to “agree to his call” of releasing the two soldiers from their custody.

With the recent release of two army personnel Sunday morning by New People’s Army rebels in Monte Vista, Compostela Valley province, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte gave his thanks to the rebel group that they were quick to “agree to his call.”

In an interview with the media at Camp Panacan, where Duterte turned over Cpl. Benjamin Samano and Pfc. Mark Alvin Ricarte to their superiors, he gave credit to the communist rebels for “following his suggestion.”

The two soldiers, who were members of the 60th Infantry Battalion, were abducted on Dec. 2 while securing a banana plantation.

“I issued a statement before that they release all POWs, and I give them a certain amount of respect that they followed my suggestion,” he said.

In Sunday’s program Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa, he said all the captives held by the NPA should be released before Christmas Day.

“It’s a time to be with your families, it’s not time to go to war,” said Duterte, adding that Samano and Ricarte were not “strategic” captives, as they were only foot soldiers and did not serve much to advance the rebel group.

Duterte also gave the NPA credit for treating their POWs according to provisions set in the Geneva Convention.

“I have yet to see them return hostages that have injuries,” he said in the Gikan program.

Meanwhile, the NPA through a statement by their Mindanao spokesman for the

National Democratic Front Jorge Madlos said the move to release POWs was a “Christmas gift” and a gesture of solidarity on their part to “engage in peaceful negotiations.”

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