The New People’s Army released Tuesday afternoon six Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit Active Auxilliary (CAA) members and two soldiers in the hinterland of Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur after two months in captivity.
The captives were released to former special assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go and presidential son Sebastian Baste Duterte.
Those released were Private First Class Darlino Cariño Jr., Corporal Eric Bulado Manangan, Rolando Bad- i Quiao, Jemuel Bocales Acibido, Jan-jan Malubay Iligan, Gabriel Cedo Iligan, Abel Gano Iligan, and James Jimpayan Iligan.
At the AFP-PNP press briefing yesterday at the Royal Mandaya Hotel, Maj. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr., commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command said the recently released law enforcers will be allowed to see their families.
However, Santos said they will also undergo medical and psychological treatment to ensure that they are in good physical and mental health.
Father Carlito Clase, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Butuan, one of the third party facilitators, said he other leaders of other churches also helped in the negotiations for the release of the captives that prompted the leaders to release first the six members of the paramilitary unit.
Case said the families of the captives sought the help of the churches for the release of their kin. Aside from the Catholic church, also involved in the negotiations for the release were the Missionary Sisters of Mary, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, the Philippine Independent Church, and some civil society organizations.
Go said the young Duterte was involved in the negotiations after a cousin of Cariño approached the latter to help negotiate for the release of his relative during their meeting in Siargao.
Go added that he and Duterte are not new to negotiating with the rebels because Duterte’s father, President Rodrigo R. Duterte, was in the forefront in negotiating for the released of captured members of law enforcement agencies during his tenure as mayor of the city.
“I am thankful that the NPAs treated them well,” Go said.
The rebels held the soldiers and members of the paramilitary unit captive after attacking the camp of the latter in New Tubigon, Agusan del Sur on December 19.
Ka Jonathan Joaquin, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front Philippine-Mindanao, said the release of the captives also symbolized the commitment of the rebel movement to pursue people with the government through peace talks.
He added the release was successful also because the rebels adhered to international protocols and agreements they previously signed with the government.