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Monday, July 15, 2024

Marcos orders swift implementation of amnesty programs for rebels

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President Marcos on Thursday ordered the immediate implementation of the Amnesty Program for rebels following its approval from Congress.

In a Palace briefing, National Security Adviser Secretary Eduardo Año said the President’s directive came during the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) 5th Executive Meeting.

“The President has directed the immediate implementation of the Amnesty Program for the remaining members of the CPP-NPA-NDF since Congress has already concurred with the proclamation,” Año stated.

In addition, the President reaffirmed a previous instruction for government agencies to activate their respective Project Development Officers to facilitate the execution of NTF-ELCAC projects within their jurisdictions.

 The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) was instructed to distribute the DILG EO 70 Localization Project Management Office (PMO) template to all national government agencies for reference.

A major highlight of the meeting was the discussion surrounding the Barangay Development Program (BDP), established to bring development to conflict-affected areas.

Since its inception, the program has seen an allocation of P30.4 billion pesos benefiting approximately 4,501 barangays nationwide that were cleared of NPA influence.

However, concerns were raised regarding the funding allocation for the BDP in the 2024 General Appropriations Act. President Marcos emphasized the need for increased support with only P2.6 billion allocated, equivalent to P2.5 million per barangay.

He urged the Cabinet to explore avenues to raise the allocation to P10 million per barangay. As a result, the Cabinet has been tasked with increasing financial assistance to the 846 BDP barangays for 2024, with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) facilitating access to the Financial Assistance to Local Government Units (FALGU).

Further, the President directed the NTF-ELCAC to propose specific programs and projects for continuous implementation in the 5,430 barangays that have been part of the BDP program since its inception.

The chief executive was instructed to review the proposed 2024-2028 NTF-ELCAC Roadmap. This roadmap, divided into two tracks, addresses the primary issues and root causes of communist armed conflict while ensuring the full integration of former rebels into nation-building efforts.

The roadmap aligns closely with the administration’s Philippine Development Plan 2023-2038, particularly Chapter 13, which focuses on ensuring peace, security, and the administration of justice.

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