We, the undersigned, hereby announce that the NDFP National Executive
Committee has unilaterally approved the release from captivity of Brig.
Gen. Victor Obillo, Capt. Eduardo Montealto, PNP Officer Roberto Bernal
and Sgt. Alipio Lozada on high moral and humanitarian grounds.
The NDFP Negotiating Panel declares that, in the exercise of the political
authority of the NDFP, the abovementioned prisoners shall be released
on humanitarian grounds on the occasion of the year-long celebration of
the 30th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines and
the New People’s Army.
The release of General Obillo and Capt. Montealto who are presently
under the custody of the local forces of the New People’s Army shall be
effected anytime within the period from March 22, 1999 to April 19, 1999
as soon as a safe and orderly conduct of the release has been arranged,
taking into paramount consideration the safety of the custodians, the captives
and all those involved in the implementation of release. The other
captives shall be released on a similar basis and according to a similar
procedure, preferably within the same period.
The releases shall be made with the cooperation of the NDFP, the humanitarian
mission led by Archbishop Fernando R. Capalla and, on her own account,
Sen. Loren Legarda, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross.
On the part of the NDFP, it holds and maintains the position that the
issue of prisoners of war is a necessary and appropriate subject in the
GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and is within the purview of the Comprehensive
Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law
(CARHRIHL) mutually approved by the Philippine Government and the NDFP.
A paper entitled “NDFP Position on the Prisoners of War and the GRP-NDFP
Peace Negotiations” is appended hereto for reference.
On the part of the humanitarian mission and Sen. Legarda, they express
their deep appreciation to the NDFP for welcoming and responding positively
to their appeal for release on high moral and humanitarian grounds.
At the same time, the mission and Sen. Legarda issue a call on all parties
and sectors concerned to cooperate, assist and pave the way for the immediate,
safe and orderly return of the officers to their waiting and anxious families
The humanitarian mission and Sen. Legarda also view the scheduled
release of the military and police officers under the custody of the New
People’s Army as a favorable factor in the resumption of the formal meetings
of the peace negotiations as it hereby issues a call on both the Government
of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front
of the Philippines (NDFP) to take the necessary and appropriate steps in
the pursuit of a just and lasting peace for the sake of all peace-loving
The NDFP Negotiating Panel responds immediately that there is no problem
about resuming the formal meetings of the peace negotiations if the GRP
respects the bilateral agreements already made with the NDFP and goes back
to the status quo ante the so-called suspension of the safety and immunity
Done in Utrecht, The Netherlands, March 17, 1999: