“We require that the SOMO and SOPO allow the necessary, reasonable and flexible scale of time and area for the safe and orderly release of the captives at the initiative of their NPA custodians.” – Luis Jalandoni, NDFP
By KARLOS MANLUPIG
DAVAO CITY — As a confidence-building measure for the peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the NDFP announced the it would release four personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) under the custody of the New People’s Army (NPA).
“For humanitarian reasons, in response to repeated appeals of the families of the four prisoners of war and as a confidence building measure to enhance the atmosphere for the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations, the NDFP is taking this decision,” Luis Jalandoni, chairman of the NDFP peace panel, said in a video conference held here.
The formal peace talks between the GPH and NDFP will resume in Oslo, Norway this month.
The four BJMP personnel, Jail Inspector Murphy Bomoway Todyog, Jail Warden Erico Dacillo Llamasares, Special Jail Officer 2 (SJ02) Rogelio Begontes and Jail Officer 1 (JOI) Rolando Delta Bajoyo, Jr, were intercepted and taken as prisoners of war by the NPA in Kitaotao, Bukidnon last July 21 while transporting political detainee Dennis Rodenas to Davao. Rodenas was rescued and freed by the rebels saying that he is a victim of the “unjust Philippine judicial system”.
Jalandoni said suspension of military operations (SOMO) and suspension of police operations (SOPO) in the area are necessary for the release of NPA captives. He said that once they receive a copy of the order for SOMO and SOMO, the NDFP would issue the order of release of the captives and the cease and desist order to the local NPA unit for a specific area and time period only.
“We require that the SOMO and SOPO allow the necessary, reasonable and flexible scale of time and area for the safe and orderly release of the captives at the initiative of their NPA custodians. It is the?pertinent revolutionary organ in Mindanao that shall specify the specific area and time period for the SOMO and SOPO and other needed requirements to ensure the safe and orderly release of the four?prisoners of war,” Jalandoni said.
Senior Inspector Mea Todyog, wife of Jail Inspector Todyog, who was present during the video conference, asked Jalandoni about the condition of her husband and the other captives.
“They are accorded humane treatment in accordance with the rules of the NPA and CARHRIHL. They are safe,” Jalandoni replied, referring to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
Jalandoni also called on the Aquino government to also immediately facilitate the release of political prisoners in the country, especially the NDFP consultants protected under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig).
“The government should also release the more than 300 political prisoners in the country including the JASIG-protected NDF consultants. We are expecting the releases for the continuation of the peace negotiation),” Jalandoni said.
Asked about the updates on Lingig Mayor Henry Dano who is also being held by the NPA, Jalandoni said, the continuing rescue and military operations are causing delays on the revolutionary proceedings and the release.
Dano and his two Army escorts were taken in his house, August 6 by the NPA.
In a separate statement, the NDFP-Southern Mindanao said Dano is being investigated for charges of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL). Dano is accused of participating in the organization and maintenance of a private armed group that is found to be protecting mining interests and supporting the armed counterrevolutionary program of the government of the Republic of the Philippines.