From the Manila Bulletin (Apr 30): NPAs free captive Army soldier in Surigao del Norte
The New People’s Army (NPA), armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Saturday afternoon finally freed an Army soldier held captive for three months in Surigao del Norte province.
Surigao del Norte | credit wikipedia | Manila Bulletin
Released was Private First Class Erwin Salan of the Army’s 30th Infantry Battallion (30th IB).
He was freed at around 3 p.m. in Purok 1, Barangay Caman-an, Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte province.
Before the turn-over event, Salan underwent a medical checkup that found him in good physical condition.
Salan was received by third-party facilitator led by Bishop Rey Timbang and provincial government officials from the custodial force of guerilla-Front Committee 16 of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee.
Certain “Ka Oto” spokesperson of guerilla-Front Committee 16 said Salan’s release was in support of the resumption of peace negotiations between the Philippine government and CPP-NDF.
Salan’s immediate kin was there to welcome him back.
He was reunited with his family in a simple turnover ceremony that turned emotional for the soldier’s kin.
In his brief remark, Salan said he was thankful to local crisis management committee, local officials and religious group and all those who helped in facilitating his release.
He said the rebels treated him well and he was looking forward to reporting back to work at his mother unit, the 30th IB.
Salan was abducted by some 15 armed NPAs while conducting forest clean up drive, along with youth volunteers within the vicinity of Lumondo Falls, in Barangay Budlingin, Alegria, Surigao del Norte on January 29, 2017.