Communist rebels release 2 soldiers in Philippines south

-Communist Party of Philippines founder says peace talks with government may resume in coming year.

Communist rebels release 2 soldiers in Philippines south
World Bulletin / News Desk
 
Two Philippine soldiers have been freed by communist insurgents after five months in captivity in southern Bukidnon province.

Army spokesperson Col. Restituto Padilla Jr. said information about the release of Marnel Cinches and Jerel Yorong was received at 10.55 a.m. (02.55 GMT) Friday, despite having been expected before Christmas.

"We are glad they have been released. We were expecting it before Christmas but still this is a most welcome development," he told defense corps reporters at Camp Aguinaldo in Manila.

Cinches and Yorong were seized by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members in Impasug-ong town Aug. 22.

Their release, which coincided with the 46th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines, came a week after the NPA released two other soldiers to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. 

Corporal Benjamin Samano and Private First Class Alvin Ricarte were abducted Dec. 2 at the compound of the Sumitomo Fruits Corp. in Davao del Norte province.

Meanwhile, the Communist Party’s founder Jose Maria Sison said in a video message posted on Facebook that peace talks with the government may resume in the coming year.

Sison, who is currently in exile in the Netherlands, said back-channel talks to "prepare the agenda" for formal negotiations have been ongoing since September. He expressed that agreements on a ceasefire, as well as social and economic reforms, may be finalized before President Benigno Aquino II steps down in 2016.

The NPA -- the party’s armed wing -- has been waging an insurgency since 1969 that has left tens of thousands of people dead.

Philippine authorities have tagged the rebels as notorious extortionists and blamed them for harassing banana, pineapple and rubber plantations, as well as poultry farms and mining outfits.

President Benigno Aquino II had aimed to reach a peace deal with the communists by the end of his term in 2016, but talks collapsed in February last year due to rebel demands that detained comrades be freed.

The two panels could not reach an agreement on a "special track," which sought to speed up the negotiation process that has been on and off since the presidency of Benigno’s mother, Corazon.

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Aralık 2014, 14:19
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