DAVAO CITY — The New People’s Army captive in Davao Oriental has appealed to government military to pull out its forward troops to give way to the resumption of the peace negotiations with the Communist-led insurgency.
In the 3:46-minute video emailed by the NPA Southern Mindanao Operations Command, Police Chief Inspector Arnold Ongachen said that he is calling for the pullout of military operations to make way for the peace talks between the government and the Communists. Ongachen speaks mostly in Filipino in the video.
“Ang hiling ko lang po sa AFP ay ihinto na po ninyo ang inyong military operation at bigyang daan natin ang peace talk na matagal nang hinihiling ng mga kababayan natin (What I am asking from the AFP is to cease their military operations and make way for peace talks that has long been the clamor of our countrymen),” Ongachen said.
The NPA released a video clip of Ongachen on Monday.
He appealed that the government should give peace talks a chance in order to understand why there are those who are taking up arms against the government.
“Sana po ay pagbigyan natin ang peace talk upang malaman natin at maintindihan kung bakit nakikipaglaban ang mga kapwa natin Pilipino sa ating gobyerno ngayon. Ito po ay matagal nang problema na hindi po naiintindihan ng karamihan sa atin (I hope that we give peace talks a chance so that we would know and understand why our fellow Filipinos are taking up arms against our government. This is a long standing problem that most of us do not understand),” he said.
‘NPA rehabilitates drug addicts’
Meanwhile, Ongachen also said that shabu users were also held by the NPA and said that the rebels were trying to “rehabilitate” them from drug addiction.
“On the first five days of my custody, I noticed other people who were also being held in custody by the NPA. I later found out that they were shabu users that the NPA are trying to rehabilitate from drug addiction. The NPA feed and take care of these addicts until they are able to overcome their addiction,” he said.
The NPA has previously claimed that they targeted to raid the municipal police station in Governor Generoso town due to “people’s demand to punish the protectors of drug trafficking” in the area.
The NPA also said that they confiscated a sachet of shabu from Ongachen when he was captured.
Rigoberto F. Sanchez, spokesperson of NPA-SMROC, said that the rehabilitation drive is part of their campaign to “rescue the poor who have fallen victims to drug abuse.”
He said their drug campaign complies with their revolutionary justice system that sees class differences.
“We differentiate poor drug users who are clearly victims of drug abuse from those who are perpetrators of the rampant drug trade. It has long been the policy of the Red Army to rescue these victims and rehabilitate them through political education,” he said in an emailed statement.
Ongachen also said that since his arrest, he has been treated well by his captors and found that the NPAs “adhere to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law or CARHRIHL.”
He also said that the NPAs were “respected” in the communities they go to.
“Noong una po, akala ko po ay sila po ay mga kriminal, pero noong isinama nila ako doon sa lugar kung saan may komunidad, napasin ko na mahal sila ng mga masa at ipinagkakatiwala ng mga tao ang kanilang mga bahay para sa NPA. Palipat-lipat po kami sa mga bahay sa komunidad at lahat po sila ay malaki
ang respeto sa NPA (At first, I thought they were criminals. But when they took me in one of the communities, I noticed that the masses love the NPA and entrust their houses to them. We keep transferring houses in the community and all the people there respect the NPA),” he said.
This is the second video of Ongachen that the NPA released. The first video was released on June 13.
Sanchez said that they are still investigating the police official for his alleged involvement in the drug trade.
But the PNP Police Regional Office 11 denied that Ongachen is involved in any drug activity.
“He is not using illegal drugs, I’m sure about that. And he is not also selling drugs and protecting anybody,” said Police Chief Superintendent Manuel Gaerlan in a previous statement.
PRO 11 spokesperson Police Chief Investigator Andrea dela Cerna during a press conference on Wednesday, July 27 said that they only received unconfirmed reports of the police official’s location.
“We are doing everything para naman matulungan natin yung isa nating kabaro, but yun nga meron tayong peace talks kasi we will try to do our best sa part ng PNP na ma-work out yung situation ni Chief Inspector Ongachen (We are doing everything to help our colleague but we have peace talks, we will try to do our best on the part of the PNP to work out the situation now of Chief Inspector Ongachen ),” she said. (davaotoday.com)