DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 12, 2010) – Communist insurgents have freed a government soldier and a militia they held hostage in the southern Philippines, the group’s leader said Monday.
New People’s Army leader Leoncio Pitao said the militia, a minor recruited by the military to fight the rebels; and the soldier, Corporal Fresilo Dosel, were released unharmed in Paquibato district in Davao City after insurgents raided an army post last week.
Pitao, alias Ka Parago, said eight other government militias had fled and abandoned their post. Dosel and his companion peacefully surrendered and handed their weapons to the rebels.
He said the capture of the minor proves the military continues to recruit teenagers to fight rebel forces. “It further proves the 10th Infantry Division and the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ duplicity in denying their continued recruitment and arming of minors as combatants into the AFP paramilitary ranks,” Pitao said.
He said rebel forces seized eight automatic weapons, including a shotgun, munitions and communication equipment and military uniform.
Lieutenant Colonel Edgardo de Leon, of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said the rebels held three people hostage, including a tribe leader, and used them as shield to raid the military post in Paquibato district.
President Benigno Aquino III said he is resuming stalled peace talks with the rebels in an effort to end bloody insurgency in the country where the New People’s Army is fighting for a separate state. (Mindanao Examiner)