ARMY’S 401st Brigade stands firm on its decision not to declare a ceasefire for the release of the two soldiers and 12 militiamen who were abducted by the New People's Army (NPA) on December last year in Sibagat, Agusan del Sur.
Brigadier General Andres Centino, commander of the 41st Brigade said, the demand of the NPA-North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) to declare a ceasefire before releasing the soldiers is "proof enough that they are using our troops as hostages so military operations will stop in the area."
"If they truly care, the CPP-NPA can release their hostages at any time without calling for any ceasefire. They do not need a ceremony, they just need to let their victims walk away, I’m sure the soldiers and CAAs know where to go when released," Centino said.
Major General Ronald Villanueva, commander of the 4th Infantry Division (4ID) said they will stand by its no negotiation policy with terrorists.
Villanueva said its military operations will continue "until the kidnap victims will be rescued and be brought back to their families".
"NPA terrorists are responsible for whatever happens to their hostages under the International Humanitarian Law. This include their responsibility to the demands of the families to release these victims, feed and give them comfortable shelter," he said.
"The NPA terrorists must stop threatening the peace loving populace in the communities. They must stop forcing them to be direct participants to hostilities," he added.
Meanwhile, the Local Government of Sibagat has declared the NPA as “Persona Non-Grata” through a resolution passed last December.
According to the military, the family of the abducted soldiers filed a human rights complaint before the Commission on Human Rights Regional Office 13 against the NPA.