Reds dismiss Duterte’s amnesty offer as ‘psywar’
LUCENA CITY—The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has scoffed at President Duterte’s offer of general amnesty to communist rebels.
“Duterte’s latest plan to grant general amnesty to NPA fighters who surrender is nothing but a psywar tool to create division within the revolutionary movement and to spread an illusion of magnanimity,” the NDFP-national executive committee said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
The NDFP, the political arm of communist insurgents, said the offer wouldn’t fool anyone in the revolutionary movement.
The group told the head of the government peace panel, Silvestre H. Bello III, to explain to Mr. Duterte that his idea of amnesty was “absolutely unacceptable” as it violated the letter and spirit of the peace negotiations.
“It (amnesty) is conditional on the surrender of NPA fighters even before there is agreement between the two parties on how to address the roots of the armed conflict,” the NDFP said.
The President declared on Sept. 16 that he was again opening the door for the resumption of peace negotiations with the the rebels, almost two months after ending it in July following a series of attacks by the New People’s Army (NPA) on state security forces.
Mr. Duterte, however, reiterated that before peace talks could resume, there should be a cessation of armed hostilities or a bilateral ceasefire between government forces and the NPA rebels.
On Friday, he again called on the rebels to surrender and offered them general amnesty, jobs and free housing.
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison welcomed Mr. Duterte’s overture and had since softened his stand against the resumption of peace talks.
Sison had said in an earlier interview that it took two warring parties—the government and the NDFP—“to exist and agree mutually to negotiate peace.”
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