Friday, May 21, 2010

Operations launch to rescue 3 soldiers held by rebels in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / May 21, 2010) – New People’s Army rebels on Friday warned that continuing military operation to rescue 3 soldiers and a government militia could endanger the lives of the prisoners.

The four – Army Corporals Marcial Bawagan, Ariel Asumo, Eduardo Alcala and militiaman Victor Pitogo – were seized by rebels on May 12 while at a birthday party in the village of Sawangan in Compostela Valley’s Mawab town.

Anvil Guinto, a rebel spokesman, said the prisoners are facing various charges from human rights violations to counter-revolutionary operations aimed at defeating the New People’s Army in the province.

He said the military launched rescue operations to free the hostages, but it was unknown if troops clashed with rebels.

Guinto said the prisoners are safe and well. “Their rights are respected under the protocols of war and international humanitarian laws, and the inherent rules of discipline strictly adhered to by the NPA,” he said.

“The rescue operations-cum-offensive military operations of the 10th Infantry Division-Eastern Mindanao Command-Armed Forces of the Philippines to retrieve the detained AFP and paramilitary personnel will only achieve two things: First, it will only prolong the on-going investigation and custodial detention of Corporals Bawagan, Asumo and Alcala and Pitogo. And second, more and more civilians will only become victims of human rights violations in villages subjected to offensive combat operations of the desperate 10th Infantry Division-Eastern Mindanao Command-Armed Forces of the Philippines reeling from defeats due to the active resistance of the people and the revolutionary movement,” Guinto said.

Army Captain Emmanuel Garcia, a spokesman for the 10th Infantry Division, said the local community is seeking the help of the Catholic Church to intervene in behalf of the victims after one of the soldier’s wife, Jenny Bawagan, consulted with Father Christopher Segura, the village parish priest, who appealed to the rebels to free the prisoners.

The New People’s Army is the military wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines which is waging a secessionist war for decades now. (Mindanao Examiner)

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