TULUNAN, North Cotabato — Emotions ran high after the family of an Army man met him following his release Tuesday by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in a remote village here.
The freed captive, Army Private First Class Eduardo Hilaga Jr. was abducted by members of the NPA Front 72 Far South Mindanao Region on April 21 after the rebels set up an early morning roadblock in adjacent Barangay Malasila, Makilala town.
Efren Aksasado, NPA Front 72 spokesman, said the release was granted after their investigation showed that Hilaga has no record of any abuse and with the extended appeal of several organizations including the Crisis Management Committee of Makilala town.
Hilaga was formally turned over to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the presidential candidate known as having established close contacts with the rebels, after the signing of an NPA release order.
Hilaga’s relatives and wife Delia fetched him during the turnover witnessed by hundreds of locals in the area.
Hilaga’s release came a day after the NPAs also freed in Davao City five other police officers they earlier held as “prisoners of war” in the boundary of Davao and Bukidnon province.
The NPA said at least five other POWs currently remain under its custody in other parts of Mindanao.
- No record of abuse, captive army man freed by NPA in North Cotabato
Local officials present during the release include Makilala Mayor Rudy Caoagdan, Tulunan Councilor Joan Villamor, and former North Cotabato Governor Emmanuel Piñol. (PNA story by John andrew G. Tabugoc)
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