From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 19): Reds free 2 captive soldiers in Davao del Sur
The communist New People's Army (NPA) released in Matanao, Davao del Sur two soldiers they seized in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat on February 2, police said.
Senior Inspector Bernard Francia, police chief of Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, said Sgt. Solaiman Calocop and Private First Class Samuel Garay, both from 39th Infantry Battalion, were turned over to the Columbio Crisis Management Committee headed by Columbio Mayor Amirh Musali.
Accompanying Musali were Francia, Columbio Vice Mayor Edwin Bermudez and the soldiers’ wives and other family members.
Also present during the release were Davao del Sur administrator Mark Cagas and Bishop Redeemer Yanez of peace advocacy group Sowing the Seeds of Peace.
“They said they were treated well while in captivity. They were in good health condition,” Francia told the Philippine News Agency.
The two infantrymen are now in the custody of their mother unit, the 39th Infantry Battalion, in Makilala, North Cotabato.
Francia said a brief statement was released by the families addressed to crisis committee members and Sultan Kudarat Gov. Pax Mangudadatu.
They also thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for raising the release of their loved ones as conditions for the resumption of peace negotiations.
Garay and Calocop were on board a motorbike heading to their detachment in Columbio when abducted by the NPAs.
Their firearms, mobile phones and other valuables were not turned over when they were released at around 10 a.m. today.
Last week, the 10th Infantry (Agila) Division, in a statement, criticized the NPA for their failure to release the soldiers. The 10th ID said these soldiers were forcibly taken at the height of the unilateral ceasefire.