NPA turns over more hostages to Duterte

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Rodrigo Duterte (File photo)

(CNN Philippines) — The New People’s Army (NPA) released more of its captives to presidential candidate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

After releasing five policemen and one civilian hostage to Duterte Monday last week (April 25), the group released two soldiers to the mayor in Talacogon, Agusan del Sur on Tuesday (May 3).

Duterte said the families of the “prisoners of war” sought his help.

He said, “Wala itong request from the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It is because of the families who sought my help to intervene and to cause the release of these two soldiers of the Philippine Army.”

PFC. David Tawedi and Glen Austria were held captive by the NPA last April 3 in Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.

Duterte had been criticized for being too friendly with the NPA.

“Hindi naman ako sang-ayon sa giyera. Gusto ko nga peace process, eh. So I do not agree. I want to reach out to seek their cooperation in arriving at a settlement of our war,” he said.

[Translation: I do not agree with war. What I want is the peace process. So I do not agree. I want to reach out to seek their cooperation in arriving at a settlement of our war.]

The release was witnessed by members of the NPA.

In a short message, the Duterte said he would put an end to military checkpoints throughout the country.

“Ayaw ko yan. Ginagamit lang. Ginagamit sa kalokohan,” he said.

[Translation: I don't want those. Those are just being used to do the wrong thing.]

But when asked about NPA checkpoints, Duterte said it’s difficult to shut them down.

He said it’s also a challenge to put an end to the payment of the illegal “revolutionary taxes” charged by the NPA.

“Territories na kontrolado nila wala tayong magawa. Nandiyan naman talaga sila,” he said about NPA checkpoints.

[Translation: In the territories that they control, we cannot do anything. They've always been there.]

 “We cannot stop it. It is going on all over the country. So the only way to stop it is really to go into a settlement of the conflict. They need the tax to survive. They're human beings. They have to eat and they have to travel and they have to buy bullets and ammunition,” he said when asked about his position on revolutionary taxes.