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Friday, May 24, 2024

Rebels urged to consider gov’t amnesty program

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The National Security Council (NSC) is urging rebel groups, including the remaining members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), to take advantage of the government’s amnesty program.

The National Amnesty Commission has begun accepting applications for amnesty after Congress concurred with the Amnesty Proclamation of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. 

This is a significant development and a game changer in ending the more than 50-year communist armed conflict in the country.

The amnesty program opens the door to opportunities for all former NPA combatants to renew their lives, reintegrate into mainstream society, and build a peaceful and brighter future for themselves and their families. 

The NSC extends its sincere invitation to all rebels to consider the path of peace and reconciliation by availing of the amnesty program.

“We encourage all the remaining active members of the armed rebel groups to seize and embrace this chance for reconciliation and renewal of hope as we all work together towards lasting peace and development,” National Security Adviser Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement released by the NSC.

“Thousands of former members of the NPA and their “Militia ng Bayan” have already surrendered in 2023 alone marking a major success in the integration of former rebels into mainstream society,” he added.

From January to March of this year, the armed strength of the New People’s Army (NPA) has been significantly reduced by 422 members.

The NPA has already been strategically defeated because there are no more active guerrilla fronts anywhere in the country and only 11 weakened guerrilla fronts remain: five in Luzon, three in the Visayas, and three in Mindanao. 

Officials said the NTF-ELCAC is on track to dismantle all remaining weakened guerilla fronts before the end of the year. In fact, three regions, namely the Ilocos, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Davao Regions, have already been declared insurgency-free.

“With the imminent collapse of the Communist movement, now is the time for them to lay down their arms and rejoin mainstream society. Choosing to apply for amnesty by laying down arms and returning to the fold of the law is in itself an act of courage that stands to benefit not only former rebels individually, but also contributes to the healing, progress, and stability of our country,” Año said.

“We urge all rebels to take the hand of peace being offered by the government. Let us all join hands in building a peaceful and prosperous future. Together, we can write a new chapter in our history, one that will celebrate the triumph of unity, understanding, and hope for a better Philippines,” he added

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