TALAKAG, Bukidnon (MindaNews)–The Natio-nal Democratic Front (NDF) on Thursday released to a group of independent cease-fire monitors a policeman who was captured by its forces in a roadblock in Bukidnon last January 29.
A small platoon of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels met a group of third party peace facilitators led by Mayor Oscar Moreno, head of the Region 10 peace and order council; and Bishop Felixberto Calang of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, in Barangay Dominorog.
The rebels flanked Police Officer 2 Anthony Natividad as he walked with his hands restrained by a small iron chain, towards the Dominorog barangay hall, where he was turned over to the civilian monitors.
One of the rebels read a statement from NDF North Central Mindanao spokesperson Cesar Rene-rio who said Natividad’s release was pursuant to the statement of NDF Chair Fidel Agcaoili that all of their “prisoners of war” should be freed as early as March 2.
“Kami sa NDF-NCMR subling mopa-abot sa kandaman nga buhian si PO2 Anthony Natividad sa pinaka-daling panahon nga itugot,” Renerio said.
A rebel then took off the iron chain that held the hands of Natividad and presented him to the peace facilitators at the presen-table table in the barangay hall.
Natividad, who was wearing a blue shirt with 1990 markings, had an emotional reunion with his family who saw him after 88 days of captivity.
Calang said Natividad would have been released earlier had the Army’s 4th Infantry Division issued a ceasefire declaration.
He said they have to seek the assistance of Mayor Moreno, who chairs the Regional Peace and Order Council for the Northern Mindanao region comprising Bukidnon, Ca-miguin, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental and Lanao del Norte. Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)