Impact welcomes video footage of POW; calls for Peace Negotiations

Dec. 15, 2008

The Interfaith Movement for Peace and the Release of Cammayo and Tumol (IMPACT) welcomes the recently released video footage of 1Lt. Vicente Cammayo who is being detained by the New People’s Army as its Prisoner of War.

According to Bishop Delfin Callao, one of the Impact convenors, the act was a first positive step in establishing the safety of Lt. Cammayo and countered earlier pronouncements by the military stating otherwise.

He added that the Arroyo government should expedite Cammayo’s safe release by resuming peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front and by ordering the military to cease from its destructive rescue operations in the region to create a conducive atmosphere for negotiation and release of the POWs.

Impact is an alliance composed of religious groups, lawyers, academe and local government officials.

Bp. Callao also considers as unfortunate and imprudent on the part of Lt. Col. Joselito Bautista, spokesman for the 10th Infantry Division, who pronounced recently that the Army will not negotiate for the release of 1Lt. Cammayo and that massive military operations in the area will continue.

“We call on the government not to complicate things with its hard-line stance of no-negotiation and no troop withdrawal position. Their military operations to rescue the POWs will not only put the lives of the POWs in danger but also continue to wreak havoc within the civilian communities in the countryside,” Bishop Callao said.

“As much as we are glad to receive the recent update regarding the POWs’ situation, we are very saddened over the recent reports of aerial bombardment against the civilian communities in Compostela Valley and the human rights violations against indigenous peoples and peasants in the areas affected by the military operations. We are urging the Arroyo Government to address this concern and institute measures such as the immediate cessation of military rescue operations,” Bishop Callao added.

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