On Monday, 29 days after being held captive by the New People’s Army, senior police officer 4 Renie Rombo was finally released and was handed over by the rebel group to the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP), a third party facilitator.
Donning a white shirt that said “Prisoner of War,” Rombo was escorted by the NPA’s custodial force to a basketball court in Barangay Banglay, Lagonglong in Misamis Oriental, where his wife Vilma and daughter Nova were eagerly waiting, together with Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Emano and Monsignor Elmer Abacahin.
Rombo was one of the five policemen and servicemen abducted by the NPA last April in a series of road blocks that the group staged simultaneously in Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Norte and Bukidnon.
The four other prisoners of war still being held by the NPA are: private first class Glen Austria, SPO1 Warren Conales, PO3 Edwin Castor, and 23rd Infantry Battalion member Diven Tawide.
The freed police officer said that his abductors took care of him, as assured by Ka Nonoy, leader of the NPA Custodial Force.
“We have never hurt or tortured SPO4 Rombo, but instead we have taken great steps in assuring his health as a top priority, [since] he has hypertension,” Ka Nonoy said.
Bishop Felixberto Calang of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente spearheaded the negotiations for the release of Rombo and the other prisoners of war, after Governor Emano planned the peace talks with the local crisis committee.
Ka Sagi of the NPA Eastern Misamis Oriental-Northeastern Bukidnon command reassured PEPP and the local government that the remaining captives are set to be released as well.