The New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command yesterday released from its custody Prisoners of War Arnold S. Ongachen and Michael B. Grande and turned them over to Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao and other peace advocates in Brgy. Kalapagan, Lupon, Davao Oriental. Pursuant to the Release Order issued by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, Red fighters under the ComVal – Davao Gulf Sub-Regional Command undertook the orderly release with more than a thousand masses in attendance.
POW Ongachen was arrested during the successful raid of the Gov. Generoso Municipal Police Station on May 29 while POW Grande was taken into custody on June 19 in Lupon, Davao Oriental. Both prisoners underwent investigation of their possible crimes against the people and the revolutionary movement.
During the release, POWs Ongachen and Grande thanked their respective NPA custodial units for the latter’s lenient treatment and ensuring their safety. The two PNP officers were held in secure custody by Red fighters despite relentless AFP combat operations.
In his speech, Sen. Pacquiao vowed to engage in issues that affect the Filipino people and work with revolutionary forces in order to address such problems. We urge him to make good on his commitment by actively deliberating in the Philippine Senate issues on genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization. He can also aid in the immediate and unconditional release of the remaining political prisoners still in jails across the country.
Moreover, as one who has roots in the toiling class from Southern Philippines, Sen. Pacquiao knows all too well the struggles
beleaguering the Lumad and peasant and the exacerbating effect of continuing militarization by the AFP and its paramilitaries. Less than 24 hours after the release of the 2 POWs, AFP troops are already conducting combat operation and terrorizing civilians in Brgy. Kalapagan.
The NPA in Southern Mindanao welcomes all friendly overtures by politicians of the Philippine government on the basis of advancing people’s issues and national unity.
Sgd. RIGOBERTO F. SANCHEZ