DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The New People’s Army (NPA) released yesterday two Army soldiers seized last Dec. 2 in New Corella town in Davao del Norte.
This developed as an official of the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political arm of the communist movement, announced yesterday that the NPA will release nine hostages in time for the NPA’s 46th founding anniversary on Dec. 26.
The soldiers identified as Pfc. Mark Alvin Ricarte and Cpl. Benjamin Samano were turned over to Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in an undisclosed place yesterday afternoon.
Duterte brought the soldiers to the Eastern Mindanao Command headquarters at Camp Panacan here.
A report from the Army’s 10th Infantry Division said the two soldiers were part of a team from the 60th Infantry Battalion tasked to help secure a government project in New Corella town.
The soldiers were seized as they were securing an airstrip in Barangay San Roque.
Meanwhile, Jorge Madlos, spokesman for NDF Mindanao, said the decision to release the nine hostages was in the spirit of the Christmas season.
Of the nine hostages, five were from the Caraga region including the three police officers from Surigao del Norte and two militiamen who were seized last year in Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur.
Aside from them, four Army soldiers seized this year and last year are also among those to be released, Madlos said in a press statement.