Filipino NPA rebels ready to free 2 POWs

Feb. 18, 2013 at 12:36 PM
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DAVAO CITY, Philippines, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Filipino NPA guerrillas, holding two prisoners, have declared a four-day unilateral truce.

The NPA is reportedly preparing to release the pair, a government soldier and a policeman, during the truce.

The NPA truce goes into effect Tuesday in Kapalong, San Isidro, Asuncion, New Corella, in Davao del Norte and Laak in Compostela Valley.

NPA spokesman Rubi del Mundo told the Mindano Examiner that the truce came in response to the decision of the National Democratic Front in Southern Mindanao to free Filipino Army 60th Infantry Battalion PFC Jezreel Maata Culango and police officer Ruel Pasion, both taken into captivity in January in Compostela Valley province.

Compostela Valley is a province of the Philippines in the Davao Region in Mindanao.

Del Mundo said "as an act of humanitarianism" Culango and Pasion were recommended for release after an investigation into their roles in "counter-revolutionary and anti-people military operations." The two, del Mundo said, were guilty of "lessee offenses."

"This, however, does not prevent the revolutionary forces from initiating future arrest against the two POWs should they be found to commit crimes against the people and other human rights abuses," del Mundo said.

He said NPA forced would keep a "defensive posture against the enemy's attack" during the cease-fire.

Del Mundo added that the Philippine army should reciprocate the truce to pave the way for an early release of the captives.

The Maoist NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines and was formed in March 1969. Unlike other Mindanao Muslim insurgent groups, the NPA has been battling for a Marxist overthrow of the Filipino government, and has been conducting a campaign on principle of "protracted people's war," extorting "revolutionary taxes" from business owners in areas it controls.

The U.S. State Department has designated the NPA a Foreign Terrorist Organization, alongside the European Union via its Common Foreign and Security Policy.

in an effort at conciliation, the Filipino government in 2011 de-listed the NPA as a terrorist organization and undertaken resumed preliminary peace talks with NPA prior to formal negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines, the NPA's umbrella organization.

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