NTF-Elcac lauds Bongbong Marcos’ amnesty proclamations
MANILA, Philippines — The military establishment on Friday hailed President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s move to grant amnesty to Maoist and Islamic rebels who are returning to the fold of the law.
Marcos, through the issuance of Proclamations 403 to 406, granted amnesty to former members of New People’s Army (NPA), Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade, Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front.
The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) said it will expedite the full implementation of the amnesty.
“This is the moment that we all have been praying for our brothers and sisters,” NTF-Elcac said in a statement.
“In issuing these Amnesty Proclamations, the President recognizes the complexity of our nation’s history and the diverse narratives that have shaped it,” the NTF-Elcac said. “The amnesty initiative seeks to weave together the threads of justice, reconciliation, understanding, unity, and progress, transcending past grievances towards a shared vision of a unified and peaceful Philippines.”
Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said Marcos’ proclamation is a testament to his administration’s commitment to sustain its gains in internal security and stability.
“We are fully behind the government’s concerted efforts to advance reconciliation and healing from the armed conflicts that have divided our nation for far too long,” Teodoro said in a statement.
“The granting of amnesty offers an invaluable opportunity for our brothers and sisters to transform their lives, avail government services, and rejoin their families and communities,” he added.
For Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Romeo Brawner Jr., the chief executive’s move is “significant step forward” towards ending all armed conflict in the country.
“Granting amnesty brings closure to hostilities and is in line with the government’s call for peace, unity, and reconciliation and push forward lasting amity among Filipinos,” Brawner said in a statement.
Brawner also expressed confidence that the amnesty “will promote an atmosphere conducive to the attainment of a just, comprehensive, and enduring equanimity as we collectively address other pressing challenges to our country.”
National Security Adviser Eduardo Año also urged the rebels “to take this once-in-lifetime opportunity to return to mainstream society and become productive citizens of the country once again.”
“The amnesty program will allow them to transition into peaceful and productive civilian life through the restoration of their social and political rights which will provide them greater participation and engagement with the broader community,” said Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. in a statement.
However, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) which serves as the political arm of the NPA, had rejected Marcos’ offer of amnesty which was first mentioned in his second State of the Nation Address last July.
“The revolutionary cause for genuine national freedom and social justice is far greater than any Marcos offer of amnesty,” CPP spokesperson Marco Valbuena said in a statement last July.
AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said some 400 members of NPA who have pending court cases could avail of the amnesty program.