Montevista, Compostela Valley – Five days before the 46th year anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines, its armed wing, the New People’s Army, released its two “prisoners of war” to Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte somewhere in the hinterlands of Montevista, Compostela Valley Province Sunday afternoon.

Around 2:39 in the afternoon, Duterte flew in with two helicopters to fetch Corporal Benjamin Samano and Private First Class Alvin Ricarte, both belonging to the 60th Infantry Battalion.

Samano and Ricarte were captured during a raid by the NPA Guerilla Front 33 at the compound of Sumitomo Fruits Corporation (Sumifru) in New Corella, Davao del Norte last December 2.

The two soldiers were on duty guarding the Sumifru compound when the NPA who were disguised as workers raided the area around 3:45 AM.

Ka Aris Francisco of the the NPA’s Comval North Davao-South Agusan Subregional Command, said they “punished the Japanese-owned banana exporter Sumifru for its gross violations of rights of its workers.”

“The NPA received complaints from the workers and their families that the company has imposed 16-work hour shifts without overtime pay in padlocked, jail-like building.  Arbitrary termination and suspension of workers without due cause are also rampant,” said Francisco.

The families of the two POWs appealed to the NPA and the government last Thursday for their safe and orderly release.

The release orders of Samano and Ricarte were signed at around 11 AM.

The POWs were later brought to the headquarters of the Eastern Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Panacan, Davao City.

Duterte also vouched that the NPAs have treated the prisoners well.

Wala pay nadakpan ang NPA nga gipasakitan (There was no case where the NPA hurt their captives),” Duterte said during the program on the release of the two Army men.

“They adhere to the rules of the Geneva Convention,” he said.

Before the POWs left, they exchanged goodbyes with their captors. Ricarte even thanked the NPA.

Meanwhile, the mayor offered the communists to establish a coalition government should he run as president on 2016.

“I ask the government, why have the peace talks stalled. If I were to run, I would finish the peace talks and end the war,” he said.

Duterte also quipped regarding rumored presidential ambitions saying “Ang akong tuyo diri, makighimamat ko. Kung modagan ko, madaug ko diri? (My aim here is to talk to you. If I run, will I win here?)” he said.(John Rizle L. Saligumba/

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