DAVAO CITY – Communist insurgents have freed a captured government soldier on Thursday in Agusan del Norte province in southern Philippines following appeals from his family and religious leaders.
Corporal Adriano Bingil was handed over to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and representatives from the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform and Iglesia Filipina Independiente in Las Nieves town.
Bingil, who was seized by rebels in September in Agusan del Sur’s San Luis town, thanked the New People’s Army and all those who helped him regain his freedom. Duterte brought the 34-year old Bingil to an army base in Butuan City where he was turned over to his superior.
The release of Bingil was also covered by journalists who were invited by rebels in the province despite earlier threats by pro-government militias for them not to cover any events of the NPA, especially the 47th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Jorge Madlos, a rebel spokesman, has accused Colonel Isidro Purisima, commander of the army’s 402nd Infantry Brigade, as behind the threats against the journalists.
He said Purisima has been using the notorious militia Magahat-Bagani to threaten the lives of journalists.
“By allowing criminal paramilitary groups to issue death threats against members of the press, Colonel Purisima has made the mass media a veritable target of state terrorism. This is not only a grave affront to the integrity of the press but an act in outright contempt of press freedom. It violates media people’s right to life and free expression as well as subverts their duty to inform the public, which is a tenet held inviolable even by the 1987 Constitution,” Madlos said.
“Colonel Purisima’s vile death threats also targeted CPP’s invited guests and the masses in general. But, despite this, the people also refused to cower in fear, that is why the CPP’s 47th anniversary open celebration in North-eastern Mindanao Region was a success, with more than five thousand people in attendance, and a considerable number of guests graced the event. In other guerrilla fronts in the region, party anniversary celebrations were also successful, and so with all the celebrations in other parts of Mindanao,” he added.
The NPA has been fighting for a separate state for many decades now. (Mindanao Examiner)
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