No deal on NPA’s release of soldiers, cops
Ghio Ong (The Philippine Star) - April 6, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  The government yesterday rejected a call by the National Democratic Front (NDF) to suspend military and police operations in exchange for the New People’s Army (NPA)’s release of military and police captives.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the government is maintaining its position that rebels should first declare a unilateral ceasefire and no other condition should be imposed to free the hostages.

In an earlier statement, the NDF urged the government to order a 10-day suspension of military and police operations in areas where four NPA hostages – Private First Class Edwin Salan, Sergeant Solaiman Calucop, Pfc Samuel Garay and Police Officer 2 Jerome Natividad – would be released.

The areas include towns in Bukidnon, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and South Cotabato.

“The positive response by the government panel in this regard will create the necessary favorable conditions for the safe, expeditious and orderly release of the POWs, as well as the safety of their respective families and the members of the Third Party Facilitator and Independent Humanitarian Mission (TPFIHM) and the safe withdrawal of the NPA custodial forces,” the NDF said.

The group also confirmed the earlier pronouncement by

the Communist Party of the Philippines “directing concerned NPA units to expedite the release of the six captured POWs still in their custody as a ‘positive gesture’ for the ongoing fourth round of peace talks.”

On March 25, the NPA released paramilitary members Rene Doller and Mark Nocus, both captured in Lupon town, Davao Oriental on Feb. 14.

DELFIN LORENZANA
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