NPA releases 4 police POWs

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PRESS STATEMENT

National Democratic Front of the Philippines

Southern Mindanao

8 October 2011

**NDFP-SMR statement on the release of the four POWs**** **

Today, the New People’s Army undertakes the safe and orderly releaseof four of its prisoners of war in compliance with the politicaldecision reached by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.Released on humanitarian grounds in recognition of the various appealsmade by the independent humanitarian mission are POWs Jail InspectorMurphy Bomoway Todyog (Badge No. 0-08021), Jail Warden Erico DacilloLlamasares (Badge No. 0-07022), Special Jail Officer 2 (SJ02) RogelioBegontes (Badge No. 960187), and Jail Officer 1 (JOI) Rolando DeltaBajoyo, Jr.

The four POWs were taken into custody as a result of the NPA operationthat led to the release of Dennis Rodenas on 21 July 2011 in Barangay(village) Sinuda, Kitaotao, Bukidnon. At the time of their capture,they were fully armed but were effectively neutralized and disarmed of13 firearms by the operating troops of the Herminio AlfonsoCommand-Guerilla Front Committee 53.

They were consequently declared as prisoners of war to accord themprotective status guaranteed by international laws governing armedconflicts which are adhered to by the New People’s Army.

There is no doubt about the fact that prior to their captivity, thefour were armed, active and regular officers of the armedcounterrevolutionary and coercive machinery of the reactionary state.And as such, they perform armed police work in the state prisons whichserve as a vital cog in the counterrevolutionary war of the GPH (aka,government of the Republic of the Philippines). Thus, therevolutionary forces asserts that it is well within the realm of theNPA to engage the entire armed security apparatus of the GPH, exceptin circumstances prohibited by NPA internal rules, the GenevaConventions and the GPH-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect ofHuman Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

By arguing that the taking of prisoners in a war is a criminal act of“kidnapping” and “hostaging”, the GPH tries time and again tobaselessly criminalize the legitimate acts of war by the armedrevolutionary forces. And by imposing its twisted view that the NPAhas no right to grant POW status, the Communist Party of thePhilippines has retorted sharply in its 13 August 2011 statement:

“The statement of the GPH negotiating panel condemning the grantingof POW status to the NPA captives betrays a poor understanding ofinternational humanitarian law and a predilection to selectively applyit against the CPP- NPA-NDFP while refusing to recognize the status ofbelligerency of the revolutionary forces.

On the one hand, the GPH measures the revolutionary forces against thestandards of international humanitarian law and human rights protocolswhich govern the conduct of states and belligerents. Yet it denouncessuch humanitarian acts as according prisoner-of-war status to captivesand insists on treating the revolutionary forces as criminals insteadof a belligerent force engaged in a civil war.”

In their more than two months under the custodial care of the HerminioAlfonso Command-NPA, the four POWs were treated humanely andleniently; their health and welfare were ensured, and their democraticrights were respected. They can well attest to these facts themselves,joining the long list of many former NPA POWs.

Today’s event underscores the failure of the Armed Forces of thePhilippines to realize its mission of “rescuing” the four POWsthrough the sheer might of its military superiority. The militaryoperations by several battalions of the 602nd Brigade-6th InfantryDivision and the 403rd Brigade-4th Infantry-Eastern MindanaoCommand-AFP only succeeded in endangering the lives of the NPAcaptives and in delaying the processes leading to their release.

And so today, as we release them to the International Committee of theRed Cross, to the third party intercessors that formed the independenthumanitarian mission, and to their families, it is our fervent hopethey were able to have a better understanding of the roots of thearmed conflict, the application of the principles and laws of humanrights and international humanitarian law in the course of this civilwar, and the aspirations and revolutionary cause of the Filipinopeople.

(Sgd.) Rubi del Mundo

Spokesperson

NDFP-Southern Mindanao

*read by a representative of the Herminio Alfonso Command