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NPA frees 2 hostaged Army soldiers
20 April 2017, 06:47 | Erica Roy
Maj. Gen. Rafael Valencia, commander of the Army's 10th Infantry Division, said the two soldiers were freed around 9 a.m.in Matanao town in Davao del Sur.
It's a fulfillment of one of the commitments made to the government by the National Democratic Front (NDF), which is representing the communist rebels in peace talks with the Duterte administration.
New People's Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, released on Wednesday two government soldiers abducted more than two months ago in southern Mindanao.
Sergeant Solaiman Calocop and Private First Class Samuel Garay, the two soldiers that communist rebels abducted in Sultan Kudarat, were released Wednesday morning, April 19.
Jorge Madlos, a rebel spokesman, claimed military and police operations impeded the release and put the safety of the prisoners, their families and third-party facilitators at risk.
The officials present include Columbio Vice Mayor Erwin Bermudez and Davao del Sur Provincial Administrator Mark Cagas. "Sabi ko nga, if they are responsible and honest partner sa peace talks, dapat noon pa nila pinakawalan 'yan dahil kinuha nila yan nung ceasefire at may peace talks pa e", said Valencia.
Calocop thanked the NPA for releasing them unharmed.
Batchar condemned the continuous recruitment of minors by the NPA to join their activities and later engage them in gun battle, which is a clear violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Right and International Humanitarian Law that prohibits the recruitment of children as combatants.
Garay added: "Wala mi nila gipasagdan sulod sa hapit mi mag-tulo ka bulan sa ilaha".
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"They did not properly talk to me". They said they would send me to school.
Ka Macario defended their continuing collection of "revolutionary taxes" as an authority of the revolutionary movement which is similar to the government's practice of collecting taxes from the people.
The government and the NDF have resumed negotiations after these were terminated in February following allegations of violations of the unilateral ceasefire declared by both sides previous year.
"During the last two rounds, both parties agreed on principle for the distribution of land".
The fifth round of peace negotiations will take place in late May, also in The Netherlands.
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