CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – The terrorist New People’s Army (NPA), exhausted and on the run from pursuing Army and PNP troops in CARAGA released six (6) of their kidnapped victims at vicinity of Barangay San Juan, Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur on February 14, 2019 around 6:07 o’clock in the evening.
It can be recalled that two (2) soldiers and thirteen (13) CAFGU Active Auxiliaries (CAAs) from New Tubigon Patrol base in Sibagat, Agusan del Sur were abducted and hostaged by the CPP NPA terrorist since December 19, 2018.
The release of the hostages is not an act of peace by the CPP-NPA but an option for survival. Continued detention of the hostages impeded their evasion from pursuing Army and PNP troops. Also, feeding number of hostages posed considerable drain on their food supplies.
The CPP-NPA terrorist have done in the past fifty-seven (57) days is a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in capitalizing hostages to repeatedly demand for ceasefire and resumption of peace talks. The troops were not Prisoners of War (POW), they were clear hostages and utilized as shield from the joint Army-PNP operations.
Part 4, Article 3, Section 1 of IHL states that taking of hostages is prohibited at any time which includes mental torture. Also in Part 4, Article 4, Section 1 states that “persons taking no active part in the hostilities, and those placed ‘hors de combat’ are entitled to respect for their lives, dignity, human rights, political convictions and their moral and physical integrity and shall be protected in all circumstances and treated humanely without any adverse distinction.
Last December 2018 the family of the kidnapped victims had already filed human rights complaint with the Commission on Human Rights Regional Office-13 for the CPP-NPA’s violations of the victim’s rights particularly on the right to be visited by their loved ones or to have communications with them.
Meanwhile, the remaining hostages are expected to be released sooner. However, the release of the hostages doesn’t free the NPA terrorists from their criminal and IHL liabilities.
Brigadier General Franco Nemesio M. Gacal, the Commander of 4ID said, “My urgent concern is the physical and mental health of our CAAs. They will be undergoing medical and psychological treatment to ensure that they are in good physical and mental health.” The Board of Inquiry (BOI) will continue with their investigation to find out exact details on what really transpired for considerations and appropriate decisions of the command”. Brigadier General concluded