AFP to NPA rebels: Spend holiday with your families
by Mario Mallari
Publish in tribune.net
The military yesterday urged New People’s Army (NPA) rebels to take advantage of the ceasefire to celebrate the Yuletide season with their loved ones and start a new life peacefully.
Maj. Gen. Eduardo Ano, commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division (ID), noted statements from rebel-returnees citing the difficulty they experience while in the mountains.
According to Ano, troops from the 10th ID are allowed to celebrate the holiday season with their families in view of the government ceasefire.
The government declared unilateral ceasefire starting Dec. 18 midnight up Jan. 19.
On the other hand, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) ordered the NPA to observe ceasefire on Dec. 24 to 26 and Dec. 31-Jan. 1 and Jan. 15-19.
“In view of the ceasefire, we shifted to pro-active defense posture and I allowed my men to take a respite and celebrate the Yuletide Season with their families. I enjoin the NPA to also celebrate Christmas with their loved ones and relatives,” said Ano.
“As related by many surrenderees, living in the mountains as a rebel is really harsh and hard. It’s time to start a new life and live peacefully. We can work together for the progress and development of Davao Region. Let’s give peace a chance,” added Ano.
At the same time, Ano welcomed the release of Cpl. Benjamin Samano and Pfc. Alvin Ricarte by the NPA.
Ano particularly thanked Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for facilitating the release of the two soldiers who were captured by NPA rebels who raided the Sumitomo Fruits Corp. (Sumifru) in New Corella, Davao del Norte last Dec. 2.
Samano and Ricarte were deployed at the Sumifru compound as augmentation security.
“We are thankful to Mayor Duterte who facilitated the safe release of Cpl. Samano and Pfc Ricarte who were abducted by the NPA. Now our two soldiers can celebrate Christmas with their families,” said Ano.
The two soldiers were subsequently turned over to the 10th ID, their mother unit, immediately after their release in an undisclosed area in Montevista, Compostela Valley on Sunday.
“They shall undergo the required process and evaluation in order to determine their fitness to return to full duty status. The two soldiers are in high spirits and very eager to serve again in the front line,” said Ano.