|New People's Army (NPA) "Soldiers"|
By Kristian Javier
MANILA, Philippines — Continuing offensive military and police operations in the Socskargen area are preventing the New People's Army from releasing two "prisoners of war", NPA spokesperson Jorge "Ka Oris" Madlos said on Wednesday.
Sgt. Solaiman Calucop and Pfc Samuel Garay, whom the NPA considers prisoners of war, were supposed to be released to third-party facilitators in a turnover ceremony on Tuesday, Madlos said.
The event, however, was cancelled due to the military and police operations in the South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani Province and General Santos region. Madlos said the operations placed the lives of the POWs, their families and the third-party facilitators at risk.
The NPA custodial unit, in cooperation with third-party facilitators, planned to release the captured soldiers in time for Easter in line with the joint statement signed by the National Democratic Front and the Philippine government on April 6.
"The AFP and PNP, however, have stubbornly refused to heed the clamor for their units to stand down and suspend offensive operations to provide the opportunity for such a turnover," Madlos said.
He urged the Philippine government to order its military and police forces to suspend offensive operations in the Socskargen region for the safe release of the POWs.
He also said that the group is set to release three more captives in Bukdinon and the CARAGA region.
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