DAVAO CITY–The Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry (Agila) Division (ID) urged Sunday the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), to make good their promise to release two soldiers they abducted in Sultan Kudarat province last February.
“We denounce the CPP-NPA for its “double-faced lie” in not releasing the two soldiers of the 39th Infantry Battalion they abducted at the height of the unilateral ceasefire last February 2,” said Captain Rhyan Batchar, chief information officer of 10th ID.
The soldiers held by the communist rebels are Sgt. Solaiman Calucop and PFC Samuel Garay.
Batchar said there is “no more hindrance to the release of the soldiers.”
In a statement last April 7 in Noordwijkaan Zee, The Netherlands, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the political arm of the CPP, accused the Armed Forces of the Philippines of refusing to suspend military operations to pave the way for the release of abducted soldiers in Mindanao, including Calucop and Garay.
The government and NDFP peace panels agreed the day before to undertake measures for the safe and immediate release of abducted soldiers in Mindanao.
The communist rebels said that the soldiers abducted in Sultan Kudarat will be released on Easter Sunday while the soldiers snatched in Bukidnon and Caraga region will be freed after Easter Sunday.
But contrary to the claim of the NDFP, Bachar said the 10th ID and the 39th IB suspended their military operations against the NPA rebels responsible for the abduction of Calucop and Garay.
“We demand that the NPA immediately release our soldiers without any condition, as this is the only way to rectify the “treacherous and insincere act” of abducting our soldiers while the unilateral ceasefires are still in effect,” Batchar said.
In an interview last week, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año said there was no need for a SOMO (suspension of military operations), noting that the NPA already released two abducted government troops in Davao Oriental last March even if there was no SOMO in the area.