By Mike Crismundo
The city and provincial crisis management committees (CMCs) and religious group on Monday are joining hands to negotiate for the safe release of an Army soldier who was abducted by New People’s Army (NPA) last Friday, May 5, in Poblacion, Valencia City, Bukidnon province.
The Iglesia Filipina Independiente, the main convenor of Sowing the Seeds of Peace in Mindanao, along with the CMCs in Valencia City and Bukidnon are now closely coordinating for possible contact of the custodial force of the NPA who allegedly held hostage Technical Sergeant Joseph Paredes of the Army’s 8th Infantry battalion (8th IB).
T/Sgt. Paredes was abducted after he was chanced upon by a rebel-manned checkpoint near Juanilla Subdivision in Valencia City, where the rebels conducted a raid at an office of a security agency and carted away several high power firearms such as AK 47 rifles and M 16 rifles, shotguns, handguns and assorted live ammunitions on Friday night, police and military report said.
Paredes abducted by the NPAs who disguised themselves as policemen and pretended to conduct an anti-illegal drugs campaign or Oplan “Tokhang” in Bukidnon province, it said.
The third party facilitator led by Iglesia Filipina Independiente Bishop Felixberto Calang is already contacting the kin of the abducted soldier for possible assistance.
The CMCs vowed to help the family of captive soldier, who already called him for help. “On the basis that we are continuing our advocacy for peace talks, we will respond favorably, we will help them. This is also an opportunity of confidence-building for the continuation of peace talks,” Calang said.
CMCs urged field unit commanders of the AFP and PNP in Bukidnon to temporarily desist their tactical operations in Bukidnon as peace negotiation for the safe release of Paredes is ongoing.