NEWSFLASH! NPA FREES MAJOR BUAN AFTER 21 MONTHS
Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, April 6, 2001 - The New People’s Army today freed Major Noel Buan 21 months after he was kidnapped by the communist group.
Senator Loren Legarda announced the officer’s release on radio and TV from Mindoro, where she had joined a delegation of go-betweens led by retired General Eduardo Ermita, a senior Arroyo adviser, to fetch Buan from his captors.
Ermita is with the party as well as a representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Executive Secretary Renato de Villa said.
He said the officer would be taken to an army hospital for a medical check-up and undergo a tactical debriefing.
The NPA seized the army intelligence officer on July 6, 1999. The rebels had at oonepoint threatened to execute him for spying.
Communist leaders declared a month-long truce last month and agreed to free Buan as part of confidence building measures in preparation for formal peace talks in Scandinavia on April 27.
President Arroyo also declared a unilateral ceasefire in several provinces around Manila to give the guerrillas the opportunity to free Buan.
President Joseph Estrada had called off peace talks with the communists in 1999 after the NPA kidnapped a number of soldiers and police including an army general.
Buan had a tearful reunion with his wife Cielo and daughter Jenina in Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro.
Gregorio "Ka Roger" Rosal of the NPA's Melito Glor Command that captured Buan was also present when Buan was reunited with his family.
From his base in The Netherlands, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) chair Jose Maria Sison today expressed triumph over the successful release of New People's Army (NPA) captive Army Major Noel Buan.
In an interview over Philippine television, Sison extended his congratulations to all who participated in the safe and orderly release of Buan this afternoon.
Sison praised the National Democratic Front (NDF) and the Melito Glor Command for the turnover of Buan. The CPP chair further congratulated Sen. Loren Legarda for coordinating the release of the Army Major.
Sison also lauded President Macapagal-Arroyo for making the ceasefire on the side of the Philippine government possible.
Following the release of Buan, Sison expressed hope the peace talks between the government and the communist party will be as successful. He added the release of Buan will help enhance the favorable atmosphere for the solidarity conference for peace to be held in Manila on April 18.
The peace talks will follow on April 27 in Oslo, Norway.
According to Sison, NDF peace panel chair Luis Jalandoni will be arriving in Manila on Sunday along with other NDF officials namely Connie Ledesma and Tony Zumel.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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