By Daisy Jane Apit
Davao Today Intern
DAVAO CITY – The wife of a soldier captured by communist guerillas early this month appealed for the release of her husband after 18 days of captivity.
“Unta buy-an nga okay, sayo-sayo kay dugay na sab biya siya, 18 days na. Mao ra gyud na kay pati ang mga bata sige nag pangita niya, nahutdan na kog bakak (I hope that his captors would release him in a good condition and soon. They have already held him for 18 days, that is all I am asking. Our kids are already looking for him and I have ran out of lies to tell them),” said Neddie Curay.
Neddie is the spouse of Sgt. Jeric Bucio Curay of the 72nd Infantry Battalion Philippine Army who was seized last April 4 by the Comval-North Davao South Agusan Sub-regional Command of the New People’s Army in a checkpoint in Brgy. Andap, Laak, Compostela Valley.
“Gimingaw na gyud ang mga bata niya. Pirme ra mangita sa iya. Naanad man gyud sila nga pirme mag-good night sa iya sa cellphone. Mamamakak na lang ko. Niana nako nga gibuy-an na ug busy lang sa karun. Mag-hulat ug ampo na lang gyud ta ani (The children missed him and are always asking how he is. They are used to say good-night to him over the phone. I just lie to them and told them that he is free but is just busy. We will just wait and pray),” Curay said.
Mrs. Curay said her husband had been a soldier for 17 years already; she hopes he would have an “early retirement on his 20th year in military service.”
“I am aware of the dangers of his job but I always believe that it is the same with civilians. Anyway, we have no other means of surviving economically,” said Mrs. Curay.
Mrs. Curay asked the help of religious group and third-party-facilitator Exodus for Justice and Peace (EJP) who have also helped the release of other “prisoners-of-war” in the past.
Mrs. Curay said she doesn’t know of any ongoing operation by the Army to rescue her husband but said she “hopes there is none.”
“Syempre naa biya sila tunga ha. Ang maghatod biya kay NPA, unya kung magsugat sila sa sundalo sa gobyerno, wa ta kahibaw unsa pwede mahitabo. Unta gyud kanang wala sa operations, (It’s the NPAs who will deliver (my husband) and the facilitators’ safety might be compromised if government troops are around. I hope there is no (military) operations for the meant time),” Curay added.
Bishop Modesto Villasanta, convenor of EJP said they hope the NPA will have a “positive response” as “in same cases puru ra man sab okay ang results (the results of the appeal to release were ok).”
“Pero okay gi-declare naman siya as POW then they have the responsibility that he will be okay (Since he was already declared as POW then they [NPAs] have the responsibility to ensure for his safety,” Villasanta added.
Mrs. Curay said that they have also asked the advice of the families of other former POWs.
“Ila ra man sab itudlo kung kinsa ang mga duolan. Ang simbahan, ang gobyerno, si Mayor (They told us whom to approach for help. We sought the help of the church, the government and the Mayor [Duterte]),” she added.
She said that they were able to talk to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte last April 10 to ask help about her husband’s capture.
“Gitawagan man daw niya ang commander unya nag-saad siya nga mag-ihap ug 10-15 days (He said he called-up the [NPA] commander and told us to wait for 10-15 days),” Curay said.
Duterte in a separate conference yesterday that he expects the release of Sgt. Curay “in a matter of days.”
Aris Francisco spokesperson of NPA- Comval-North Davao South Agusan Sub-regional Command said in a statement April 6 that “(t)he arrest of an enlisted personnel of the 72nd IB was timed with the NPA’s renewed campaign against AFP units (the other one is the 60th IB) responsible for protecting big logging firms which have wiped out the forests of Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley and Agusan del Sur provinces.”
“Wanton destruction of remaining forest cover and unchecked commercial logging in these areas have greatly impoverished Lumads and peasants and have made them more vulnerable to environmental disasters and climate change,” Francisco said. (davaotoday.com)