NPA in ComVal vows to free captured soldier

Aug. 14, 2007

The New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao, in a statement sent to the media on Monday, said it will release a soldier it captured during an ambush last Aug. 10 in Monkayo town, Compostela Valley province. The soldier, it said, will be freed because he had not committed “crimes against the people.”

Alejandro Lanaja Command
Front 3 Operations Command
New People’s Army-Southern Mindanao

Press Statement
13 August 2007

NPA to release POW captured in Monkayo ambush

The Alejandro Lanaja Command (ALC) of the New People’s Army announces the imminent release of its Prisoner Of War Pfc. Marjun Gatela, a member of the 72nd Infantry Battalion-Armed Forces of the Philippines, who was captured during an ambush last Friday, August 10, in Sitio Kidapang, Brgy. San Isidro, Monkayo, Compostela Valley.

Results of the preliminary investigation conducted by the ALC and relayed to the NPA higher command revealed that Gatela (Serial Number 837898) has not committed serious crimes against the people on his own individual volition. His actions against the revolutionary movement and the people were merely a result of his being an element of the AFP. Not being an officer of his unit, POW Pfc. Gatela cannot be held liable for the crimes against the people and the human rights violations committed by the 72nd IB-AFP.

As such, the NPA’s higher command has approved for Gatela’s immediate release as an exercise of the revolutionary political authority by the People’s Democratic Government.

Subject to the actual conditions and security implications in the field, POW Pfc. Gatela will be released to his wife and family. The ALC-NPA shall assess the enemy’s (military and police) movement that might hamper the safe and orderly release of Gatela.

While in custodial detention, the NPA strictly observes the rights of Gatela, in accordance to his status as a Prisoner of War under the war protocols, GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAR-HR-IHL), and the 1996 NDFP Unilateral Declaration of Undertaking to Apply the Provisions of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and Protocol 1 of 1977.

This is in stark contrast to the AFP’s practice of using torture, intimidation, physical, psychological and sexual abuse and killings towards its captives and political detainees.

The NPA, likewise, warns Monkayo Mayor Manuel Brillantes and his cohorts against continuing the use of the AFP units of Compostela Valley Province and for employing his private goons and hired killers to repress peasants and Lumads who oppose his economic and political interests.

The NPA will always defend the interests of the oppressed and exploited. It will continue to inflict blows to the reactionary Army and police, and defeat the US-directed Oplan Bantay Laya of the fascist Arroyo regime. #

Alejandro Lanaja Command
Front 3 Operations Command
New People’s Army-Southern Mindanao

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