21 February 2011
As the weeklong GPH-NDFP formal peace talks resumption culminated today, the Wilfredo Zapanta Command-Front 18 Operations Command of the New People’s Army (Wizac-NPA) released prisoner of war (POW) PO2 Jerwel Montecillo Tugade (Serial No. 146761), a member of the 1106th Provincial Mobile Group-Philippine National Police. His release was an act of good faith in support to the current GPH-NDFP peace talks and to inspire reciprocal measures from the GPH.
POW PO2 Tugade was arrested in a February 7 Wizac-NPA mobile checkpoint along the Tagum-Mati national highway in Barangay Pintatagan, Banaybanay, Davao Oriental. He was assigned at the Banay-Banay PNP municipal station. In the course of his 15-day captivity, he was treated humanely; his rights as a POW were fully respected in accordance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHR-IHL) and the Geneva Conventions.
The Merardo Arce Command-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command-NPA issued the release order following the investigation by revolutionary authorities that cleared him of crimes committed against the masses and the revolutionary movement. POW Tugade has no direct accountability or violations against the masses and the revolutionary movement in the course of his work of almost a decade in the PNP.
As the NPA upholds the CPP declaration of the week-long ceasefire, the AFP/PNP grossly violate their own suspension of military/police offensive operations mocking the GPH-NDFP peace talks. Lt. Col. Joshua Santiago, 10th ID-AFP spokesperson, stammers while lying through his teeth declaring to the media and the public that “rescue operations” and “combat operations” were stopped “in the spirit of the ceasefire” and “to support the peace talks.” Initial field reports, however, point to offensive military operations unleashed by 28th IB-AFP in Banay-Banay villages simultaneous with the so-called “civil-military operations” by the 71st IB-AFP in the villages of Maco, Compostela Valley Province and the 5th Scout Ranger Company’s offensive operations in Maragusan, Comval. The CMO-AFP teams in Maco town deliberately stay within civilian communities which is a clear violation of the CARHR-IHL and war protocols.
The 10th ID-AFP only shows its utter contempt to the GPH-NDFP peace talks as it tries to sabotage the mutual ceasefire in its desperate bid to gain an upper hand against the people’s army. The safe and orderly release of NPA POW PO2 Tugade today and the series of accumulated defeats that the AFP sustained from the NPA have only proven that the bankrupt reactionary army and the rotten regime have been failing miserably in its anti-people and counter-revolutionary war.
(Sgd) Rafael de la Cruz
Wilfredo Zapanta Command
Front 18 Operations Command
New People’s Army-Southern Mindanao