DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 27, 2008) – Communist rebels on Thursday announced they are holding a police officer as prisoner of war after they seized him in Davao Oriental province in the southern Philippines.
The rebels said Police Officer 3 Eduardo Tumol, a member of the 1105th Provincial Mobile Group, was arrested on Nov. 5 after stopping a police car at a checkpoint in the village of Baogo in Caraga town.
Tumol’s commander, Chief Inspector Angel Sumagaysay, and another policeman were able to escape before rebels could arrest them, said Jumabok Kadyawan, a spokesman for the New People’s Army-Antonio Nerio Antao Command.
“Sumagaysay's cowardly flight and desertion of his subordinates only proves his serious accountability. The 1105th PMG is part of the brigade-sized combat formation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police that launched offensive military operation during the past month in Boston and Cateel towns in Davao Oriental, which resulted in the displacement of civilians, destruction of livelihood and several cases of human rights violations,” Kadyawan said.
He said the rebels also seized an M16 automatic rifle and a KG9 sub-machinegun, including a .45-caliber pistol from the police.
“As a prisoner of war, PO3 Tumol will undergo an investigation by the revolutionary government for possible human rights violations and crimes against the people. In accordance with the rules of war, international protocols and laws of the revolutionary government, the Front 15 Committee assures the humane treatment of POW Tumol and will release him if he is found not guilty of grave offenses,” Kadyawan said.
Aside from Tumol, the NPA is also holding First Lieutenant Vicente Cammayo, commander of the Army Special Forces, who was captured Nov. 19 by rebel forces after a firefight in Monkayo town in Compostela Valley province.
The rebels said Cammayo is also being interrogated for possible human rights violations and other crimes related to operations of the Special Forces in Mindanao.
Kadyawan said rebel offensives would continue despite ongoing government anti-insurgency campaign in the restive region. The military repeatedly said that the NPA fighting capability is diminishing because of the government offensives.
“Military actions and tactical offensives of the Red fighters shall continue in Caraga to frustrate the unwarranted military operations of the enemy and punish the fascist elements of the AFP and PNP who are mainly serving the greedy interests of capitalists and those in the reactionary power.”
“The successful action by the people's army debunks once more the declaration of the fascist AFP and PNP that the revolutionary government has already been weakened,” he said.
The NPA, armed wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), is fighting the government the past four decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. Peace talks between Manila and the CPP-NPA collapsed in 2004 after both sides failed to sign an agreement ending hostilities in the countryside. (Mindanao Examiner)