MANILA - The New People's Army has freed the last three prospectors held captive in a remote gold rush site in Compostela Valley past 11 am Monday.
The three victims were identified as Antonio Joilar, Glenn Orit and Nelson Orit. They were among the 39 civilians taken as ''human shields'' by about 80 NPA rebels who were being pursued by two battalions of soldiers.
The victims said more than 50 armed rebels are in the area, but denied that they were held hostage. They said it took them a while to leave the site as they were organizing the things they used in mining.
They were also thankful that they were not hurt by the rebels.
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Logico, Philippine Army's 66th Infantry Battalion commander, said the three men may have been brainwashed and taught what they were supposed to say.
He is thankful that no one was hurt among the victims. -- report from Danjo Revilla, ABS-CBN News Southern Mindanao