POWs released to ICRC and government officials

 

Rodriguez, Rizal

 

May 27, 2009

 

Bonus Tracks: Video of the release of the Rizal POWs

 

P/Insp. Rex Cuntapay PO1 Marvin Agasen PO1 Alberto Umali

 

The NDFP also extended its thanks to Senator Maria Consuelo Madrigal, Rizal Governor Casimiro Ynares III, Bishop Gabriel Reyes of Antipolo, Bishop Emilio Marquez of Lucena City and the ICRC for helping facilitate the safe and orderly release of the POWs.

“Sen. Madrigal, Gov. Ynares, Bishop Gabriel Reyes and the representatives of the ICRC braved rain and muddy roads and paths to help secure the release of the POWs. We are grateful for their patience and commitment to the safe and orderly release of the POWs,” Agcaoili said.
 

--- from NDFP statement

   
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Released POWs Speak Well of Erstwhile Captors

 

P/Insp. Rex Cuntapay and PO1 Marvin Agasen both used to view the communist-led New People’s Army (NPA) in a bad light. Captured last Jan. 3 together with PO1 Alberto Umali after their unit’s encounter with guerrillas belonging to the NPA’s Narciso Antazo Aramil Command (NAAC), which operates in Rizal (a province southeast of Manila), they were held as prisoners of war (POWs) for almost three months. They were released on March 27, very near the place where they were captured. The three policemen had only kind words to say about their former custodians.

BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
Bulatlat
Released POWs Speak Well of Erstwhile Captors
PUBLISHED ON March 28, 2009 AT 5:13 PM

P/Insp. Rex Cuntapay and PO1 Marvin Agasen both used to view the communist-led New People’s Army (NPA) in a bad light.

Captured last Jan. 3 together with PO1 Alberto Umali after their unit’s encounter with guerrillas belonging to the NPA’s Narciso Antazo Aramil Command (NAAC), which operates in Rizal (a province southeast of Manila), they were held as prisoners of war (POWs) for almost three months. They were released on March 27, very near the place where they were captured.

“Wala silang masamang record” (They have no bad record), Ka Ambrosio, leader of the custodial team that held them, said of the three policemen.

Moments before their release, the three policemen were in a cheerful mood, exchanging jokes with the NPA guerrillas. One guerrilla joked that maybe one or two of the policemen would like to stay with the NPA – to which one of the policemen replied that maybe some of the guerrillas would like to join them on their way back to the town center.

The air, which was intermittently cool and very hot that day, was subsequently filled with boisterous laughter.

Cuntapay, Umali, and Agasen had only kind words to say about their former custodians.

“Ang normal na kaisipan natin noon, pag nahuli ka, tutuklapan ka ng mukha” (I used to think of them as people who, if they capture you, would skin your face), Cuntapay said in an interview when asked how he thought of the NPA before being taken as a POW. “Hindi pala, sumusunod pala sila sa batas ng digmaan” (But no, it turned out that they follow the laws of war.)

“Dati, takot (ang nararamdaman ko sa mga NPA), dahil ang nababalitaan ko, pumapatay sila nang walang dahilan” (Before I was afraid of the NPA guerrillas, because I used to hear that they kill for no reason), said Agasen in another interview. “Nabago ‘yon nang mabihag ako. Nakita ko y’ong prinsipyo (nila) at sumusunod talaga sila sa kasunduan ng NDFP at GRP, y’ong CARHRIHL na tinatawag” (That changed when I was held as a POW. I saw that they are principled people, I saw that they follow the agreement between the NDFP and the GRP, which is called the CARHRIHL.)

The CARHRIHL is the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, which was signed by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in 1998. It covers, among other things, the treatment of POWs.

Umali, for his part, told of growing up in Rizal and hearing about the NPA all the time, but he said he never thought of the guerrillas as bad people. “Hindi tumatanim sa isip ko na masama sila, hindi” (It never crossed my mind that they were bad people, never), he said in a separate interview.

The interviews were all conducted in the privacy of a makeshift tent, with the custodial team’s members all several meters away.

The three policemen all said their custodians treated them well. Asked if there was any incident in which their custodians hurt or threatened them, they all replied in the negative.

“Ibinigay nila ang karapatan namin bilang tao” (They recognized our rights as humans), Agasen said. “Ayos naman ang pagtrato nila sa amin” (They treated us well).

Cuntapay, Umali, and Agasen also said that their nearly three months in the guerrillas’ custody has given them more insights into why there exists a group like the NPA.

“And’yan sila dahil sa hirap ng buhay” (They exist because life is difficult), Cuntapay said. “Gusto nila, pantay-pantay ang lahat ng tao sa Pilipinas” (They want equality in the Philippines.)

“Ipinaglalaban nila y’ong mga magsasaka, y’ong…mahihirap” (They are fighting for the peasantry, the poor), Umali said.

“Ipinaglalaban nila y’ong pantay-pantay na pagtingin sa mayaman at mahirap” (They are fighting for equal treatment for rich and poor people), Agasen said.

“Ang naobserbahan ko sa kanila, kung ano ang kinakain ng isa, dapat gano’n din lahat” (What I observed of them is that what one eats, everyone eats.), Cuntapay also said. “Hindi puwedeng gutom y’ong iba, y’ong iba busog: kailangan, pantay-pantay” (It is never the case that others are hungry while one is full: everyone should be equal.)

They all cite among their most unforgettable experiences while in NPA custody the difficulties of having to walk through slippery mountain routes or having to swim through rapid currents. They also recall their pleasant surprise at discovering several kinds of jungle food which they never thought was edible. Cuntapay confesses that several times he had bouts with boredom.

The three policemen said they look forward to being able to return to police duty soon.(Bulatlat.com)
 

Released POWs with ICRC members and government officials.

(Photo by ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO)

The POWs sign their release papers.

(Photo by ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO)

 
 

You Tube video

NPA ambush in Rizal, 418th Police PMG, Jan.3, 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITOTdg-eUiM&feature=channel

 

           
           

Stills from YouTube Video

           
     
     
           
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CPP congratulates NPA in Rizal for safe and orderly release of POWs
From:
http://philippinerevolution.net/


Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines

Press Release
March 28, 2009

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today congratulated the Narciso Antazo Aramil Command of the New People's Army (NPA-NAA) for yesterday's safe and orderly release of three elements of the Philippine National Police Regional Mobile Group held prisoner by the NPA in Rizal since January 3.

Shortly after noon yesterday, custody of the three prisoners of war (POWs)—Insp. Rex Contapay, PO1 Marvin Agasen, and PO1 Alberto de la Cruz—was transferred to personnel of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who carried out a brief medical checkup and found the three to be in good physical condition. Thereafter, the three were brought to their families and representatives of the Philippine government, religious leaders and other intermediaries.

The safe and orderly release of the POWs was carried out through the intercession of Sen. Jamby Madrigal, Rizal Gov. Casimiro Ynares III and other personalities who corresponded with representatives of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), and directly negotiated with the NPA and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the halting of military operations in Rizal province and adjoining areas of Laguna to ensure the safe and orderly release of the POWs.

"In carrying out the safe and orderly release of the three prisoners of war, the NPA-NAA has demonstrated to the Filipino people and the international community the serious adherence of the revolutionary forces to the Geneva Conventions and the humanitarian principles and rules of the NPA and the revolutionary movement in the course of conducting the people's war," said the CPP through its Information Bureau.

"The release of the POWs was fittingly carried out a few days before the celebration of the NPA's 40th founding anniversary, drawing attention to the NPA’s organizational, political and military capabilities, which have been instrumental in the NPA's overall advance and the victories achieved in advancing the people's war," said the CPP.

"By successfully ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the prisoners of war for close to three months, the NPA-NAA also demonstrated its high degree of respect for human rights and strict adherence to international civilized rules of war," added the CPP. "We take note of the fact that the prisoners of war were kept safe despite the relentless military operations carried out by the AFP for the past months."

"Even after the local revolutionary authorities had cleared the three POWs of any serious crime against the revolutionary movement and the people and had thus approved their release, it took almost three months before they could be freed as it took that much time to convince the AFP to halt its military operations and thus pave the way for the safe and orderly transfer of custody," added the CPP.

The three POWs were taken into custody by the NPA after their police unit was successfully ambushed by the NPA-NAA on January 3 in Rodriguez, Rizal. After their unit was pinned down, the three surrendered to the Red fighters who promptly accorded them the status of POW consistent with pertinent provisions of the Geneva Conventions, the NPA rules and peace agreements between the revolutionary movement and the government.

 

 

National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Negotiating Panel

PRESS RELEASE
30 March 2009

NDFP hails NPA Narciso Antazo Aramil Command
for successful release of POWs in Rizal


The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) today hailed the Narciso Antazo Aramil Command (NAAC) of the New People’s Army (NPA) for the successful release of prisoners of war Police Inspector Rex Cuntapay and two of his men, Alberto Umali and Marvin Agasen. The three were freed last Friday in Rodriquez, Rizal.

Fidel V. Agcaoili, spokesperson of the NDFP Negotiating Panel, lauded the NAAC “for abiding by international humanitarian law (IHL) and the NPA’s own Rules of Discipline in extending humane treatment to the three POWs and ensuring their safety despite the unrelenting military operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the province of Rizal”.

At the same time, Agcaoili lambasted the AFP and the PNP for disregarding the well-being of their own men in pursuing rescue operations and delaying the issuance of the so-called suspension of combat operations despite the persistent pleas of the relatives of the POWs and the intercession of well-meaning elements.

“In fact, the AFP violated their so-called suspension of combat operations in fielding armed agents in the vicinity of the release area. To ensure the safe release of the POWs, the NPA kept the agents under temporary custody and confiscated their firearms before handing them over to Bishop Gabriel Reyes after the signing of the release papers and the turn-over of the POWs to the representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) by the NPA custodial unit,” Agcaoili added.

The NDFP also extended its thanks to Senator Maria Consuelo Madrigal, Rizal Governor Casimiro Ynares III, Bishop Gabriel Reyes of Antipolo, Bishop Emilio Marquez of Lucena City and the ICRC for helping facilitate the safe and orderly release of the POWs.

“Sen. Madrigal, Gov. Ynares, Bishop Gabriel Reyes and the representatives of the ICRC braved rain and muddy roads and paths to help secure the release of the POWs. We are grateful for their patience and commitment to the safe and orderly release of the POWs,” Agcaoili said.

“We call on the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime to reciprocate this humanitarian and goodwill gesture of the NDFP by releasing its consultants under GRP custody and surfacing or accounting for the disappeared in order to help pave the way for the resumption of the formal peace talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations,” Agcaoili concluded.

REFERENCE:
Ruth de Leon
Executive Director
NDFP International Information Office
Tel.+31-30-2310431
Fax +31-84-7589930
Email: ndf@casema.nl

 

From: http://ndfp.net/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=609&Itemid=1

 

     

BONUS TRACKS

Video clip and stills from the Kodao coverage of the release of the Rizal POWs

           
           
 

URL of Video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mc_0xVzOAa4

 

 
     
     
     
     
     

 

RIZAL POWS RELEASED BY NPA, PRISONERS IN THEIR OWN CAMP

Press Statement
Macario "Ka Karyo" Liwanag
Spokesperson
Narciso Antazo Aramil Command (NAAC-NPA-Rizal)
April 12, 2009

The NAAC-NPA-Rizal released the 3 POWs namely Cuntapay, Agasen and Umali last March 27, 2009 but until now they are not being permitted to go home to be with their families. Against their will, the three are confined to barracks as if they are guilty of any wrongdoings. They are being treated as prisoners in their own camp. They are accused of being brainwashed by the NPA and are now being subjected to endless psychological interrogation, a misnomer for psychological torture, by their own superiors in the PNP and by the intelligence agents in the PNP and AFP to elicit information against their captors and the NPA custodial forces who took care of them while they were NPA POWs. They are suffering humiliations from their own comrades in PNP and AFP, a situation they never experienced while in the hands of the NPA.

Since their release, they were brought to the provincial PNP headquarters in Hilltop, Dolores, Taytay, Rizal and were not allowed to go out of the camp. They were not even allowed to visit their family even during the Lenten Season. Even P01 Agasen was not allowed to attend the graduation of his only daughter even if it’s one of his ardent wishes upon release. The NPA released him a day before the graduation for him to attend and to be able to pin the numerous medals garnered by his daughter who graduated valedictorian in her class. But the PNP was very inhuman for not acceding to the wish of his daughter that she wants her father, PO1 Agasen to be with her in the graduation day. They are prisoners now more than when they were POWs of the NPA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 3 former POWs are telling the truth when they speak out their minds that they were treated fairly and humanely by the NPA and there exist 2 government in the Philippines, a reactionary government they faithfully serve that is led by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and a Democratic Revolutionary Government based in the countryside of the Philippines that is being led by the CPP-NPA-NDFP because they themselves experienced how the revolutionary government works. They were arrested, detained, investigated by proper revolutionary judicial authorities, treated as POWs and unilaterally released for humanitarian reason by the Democratic Revolutionary Government. This is the experience that they won’t forget while living. This is the truth that the reactionary AFP-PNP-GRP officials won’t accept because to do so is to accept that their goal to defeat the CPP-NPA-NDFP by 2010 is a dismal failure. That is why they hated P/Inspector Rex Cuntapay when he said in the TV interview after their release that there exist 2 governments in the Philippines today.

The 3 former POWs are now being coerced by their superiors to speak lies against the NPA which is hard for them to do because they are basically good men and good officers and gentlemen. But since they still remain with the PNP, we won’t be surprised if they would eventually recant in public the good praises they said about the NPA after their release. As PNP members, they are obliged to follow the command of their superiors, but these won’t remove the fact that they were treated humanely and leniently by the NPA and that they already know the real situation of the Philippine society where the police and the military are being used to prop-up a corrupt and anti-people Arroyo regime. The 3 former POWs knew in their conscience what the truth is even if they would be forced by their superiors to lie about their experience with the NPA.

   
     
     
     
     
   
     
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