DAVAO CITY – Communist rebels have freed a policeman they captured in southern Philippines following appeals by his family and religious groups in the troubled region.
The 52-year old Senior Police Officer 2 George Rupinta was released on Friday in Compostela Valley’s Maco town with rebels saying the gesture was purely humanitarian. Rupinta was handed over to a nongovernmental organization called Exodus for Justice and Peace which facilitated the policeman’s safe release.
Wearing a white t-shirt and a pair of dark sunglasses, the prisoner was met by his son and wife who wept upon seeing him and embraced Rupinta tightly. Rupinta was captured in Lupon town in Davao Oriental province on June 9 this year and rebels declared him a prisoner of war.
Four days after his capture, New People’s Army rebels released a four-minute video clip of Rupinta, which showed him appealing to President Rodrigo Duterte to help secure his freedom and urged the government to resume the stalled peace talks with communist leaders. Rupinta said the talks stalled following Duterte’s declaration of martial law.
During his capture, Rupinta said he was treated well by rebels. “They advised me not to do or try anything so that nothing will happen to me. So I conceded because I couldn’t do anything, there were six of them. So when we arrived at their camp, they treated me as a prisoner of war.”
“They gave me food, clothes, medicines. They also especially detailed a medic for me. They adhered to international protocols regarding the treatment of prisoners of war. I was not threatened. They did not harm me. They provided me with everything that I needed, even the medicine which I take daily for my maintenance,” he said.
The NPA has been fighting for many decades now to overthrow the democratic government and put a Maoist state. (Mindanao Examiner)
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