CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The New People's Army (NPA) on Friday afternoon, November 20, released Corporal Adonis Lupiba – a prisoner of war (POW) – to 3rd party facilitators in Barangay Kaulayanan, Sugbongcogon town.
The facilitators were led by Iglesia Filipina Independente Bishop Felixberto Calang and Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Emano.
Lupiba was captured by the NPA in Barangay Alatagan, Gingoog City on July 11 after the NPA attacked the village while the army was helping the village develop its water system.
According to residents of the village, Lupiba did not fire back at the NPA since there were civilians near the basketball court. The attack lasted for 20 minutes and killed one corporal.
According to Cesar Renerio, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front-North Central Mindanao, the release of Lupiba came after Luis Jalandoni, chairperson of the NDF, signed Lupiba's release papers.
Lupiba spent 132 days as a POW and the NPA blamed the army's rescue efforts for the delay of Lupiba's release.
In an e-mail, Renerio said that the NDF and the Local Crisis Committee negotiated to secure the release of Lupiba.
Lupiba arrived at the Camp Edilberto Evangelista around 7 pm Friday and was brought directly to the station hospital for a medical check-up and physical evaluation.
Captain Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the 4th ID, said that Lupiba – considered as the hero of Alatagan for his bravery and actions that prevented civilian casualties – will be accorded a hero's welcome.
"As recognition for his distinct act of heroism, the 4th Infantry Division will give a hero's welcome followed by the ceremonial pinning of rank insignia as Corporal," Martinez said.
Colonel Jesse Alvarez, commanding officer of the 403rd Infantry Brigade which Lupiba belongs to, was grateful for the safe release of Lupiba.
Major General Oscar Lactao, commander of 4th Infantry Division, lauded Lupiba for his bravery and act of heroism.
"I congratulate Corporal Lupiba for saving the people of Alagatan. For the people in Northern Mindanao, this is the kind of soldier who is serving you. Human rights, international humanitarian laws, and the rule of law are deeply ingrained in each soldier. Likewise, we are ready to protect you just to ensure that no threat would disrupt your peaceful communities," Lactao said. – Rappler.com