By Mike Crismundo
BUTUAN CITY – After two months in captivity, two militiamen were freed by their New People’s Army (NPA) abductors in the hinterland of Remedios Trinidad Romualdez (RTR) town in Agusan del Norte province.
In his flash report to Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) regional headquarters at Camp Col. Rafael C. Rodriguez here and Agusan del Notre Police Provincial Office (PPO), RTR Chief of Police Senior Inspector Noel Galindoo said released were AJ Reginal and Bernabe Salahay, both CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA) members assigned in RTR.
They were freed by their abductors at 1:30 p.m. on Monday at Sitio Kaunlaran, Barangay Tagbongabong, RTR, Agusan del Norte, he said.
The release of AJ Reginal and Bernabe Salahay, whom the rebels had captured in separate instances in Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte in December 19, last year, brings down to eight – two soldiers and six Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit Active Auxiliary (CAA) members – the remaining captives still being held by the NPA somewhere in the hinterland of Diwata ranges in Caraga region.
The CAAs were turned over by the NPA to third party facilitators at about 1:30 p.m. Monday in Barangay Tagbongabong, RTR town.
Earlier, six other hostaged CAAs were released by their abductors in the vicinity of Barangay San Juan, Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur province on Feb. 14.
Meanwhile, Joaquin Jacinto, alleged spokesperson of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Mindanao, said the release of the hostages proves that it is still open to resuming peace talks with the Duterte administration.
The release was a “gesture of goodwill” despite the government’s failure to suspend military operations, he added.