From the Manila Standard Today (Nov 22): NPA seeks ceasefire
New People’s Army rebels who abducted three Surigao del Norte policemen have sent feelers that they wanted a ceasefire, says Mayor Dominador Esma Jr. of Alegria, Surigao del Norte.
Reached by mobile phone on Thursday, he said Governor Sol Matugas has been informed as head of the Surigao del Norte Provincial Crisis Committee, pending formal negotiations initiated by the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
On Friday, 1st Lt. Patrick Martinez, Army 4th Infantry Division spokesman, said a military-police operation has been launched to recover the policemen.
“The decision for suspension of military operations (SOMO) will not come from us, the military. As in most cases, it actually originated from civilian authorities,” he told Manila Standard. “But I think, Governor Matugas learning from bitter lessons in the abduction and release of four Surigao del Norte policemen last July, it is most unlikely, the SOMO request will be realized.”
Martinez claimed the same group that kidnapped two Alegria policemen along the national highway in Barangay Pongtud last November 16 were also the ones who held captive four other policemen on July 10 but released July 29 during a five-day ceasefire that took effect July 27.
At the time, Eastern Mindanao Command spokesman Capt. Alberto Caber said the truce covered the towns of Placer, Bacuag, Tubod, Gigakit, Claver and Alegria all of Surigao del Norte and Santiago, Kitcharao and Jabonga all of Agusan del Norte.
Esma, also Municipal Crisis Management Committee chairman, said Insp. Karlo Eden Malinay has been replaced by Senior Insp. Alberto Yong, as town police chief.