AFP: No negotiations with NPA for 5 captive soldiers
(The Philippine Star) - June 24, 2013 - 12:00am

DAVAO CITY , Philippines – The Armed Forces is standing pat on its no-negotiation policy for the five soldiers who were snatched by the New People’s Army (NPA) last June 17 in the hinterlands of Paquibato district this city.

“We maintain our stand that there shall be no negotiations for the release of the soldiers. That has always been the stand of the AFP,” said Maj. Gen. Ariel Bernardo, commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division.

Bernardo said the military is still pursuing its operations in a bid to rescue the five soldiers.

“We know they are just around the area in Paquibato. They are just within the vicinity,” he said.

NPA-1st Pulang Bagani Command leader Lencio Pitao confirmed that the five soldiers belonging to the Army’s 60th Infantry Battalion – Cpl. Emmanuel Quezon, Pfcs. Vernie Padilla, Ronald Gura and Donato Estandian, and Pvt. Martesiano Pasigas – are in their custody.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte earlier had called on the NPA to release the soldiers, saying holding them in captivity would not do the underground movement any good.

But National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Mindanao spokesman Jorge Madlos turned down Duterte’s request, saying the five soldiers would have to undergo a certain process before they are freed.

The five soldiers were reportedly attending a feeding program for children in Paquibato district when they were seized.

ARIEL BERNARDO ARMED FORCES BUT NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHILIPPINES-MINDANAO DAVAO CITY MAYOR SARA DUTERTE EMMANUEL QUEZON INFANTRY BATTALION INFANTRY DIVISION JORGE MADLOS LENCIO PITAO PAQUIBATO
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