MANILA – The defense and security cluster of the Marcos administration and other entities have expressed their support for the amnesty proclamations issued by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., aimed at attaining lasting peace through comprehensive peace initiatives.
The National Security Council (NSC) said the amnesty will create a climate conducive to peace and reconciliation, provide a pathway for former rebels to reintegrate into the society, and give them access to socio-economic services of the government.
“We recognize these proclamations as significant steps towards national healing and peacebuilding. By providing a path for former rebels to return to the fold of the law, the national amnesty program contributes to the overall stability and unity of our nation,” the NSC said in a statement, as released by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) on Sunday.
“We thank the President for his dedication and commitment to achieving lasting peace and look forward to the positive impact these amnesty measures will have on our society.”
Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. said the amnesty is a significant step towards the full transformation into productive and peace-loving citizens of both active and former members of the New People’s Army (NPA), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB).
“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,” Galvez said in his message shared by the PCO.
The National Amnesty Commission, headed by chairperson Leah Tanodra-Armamento, welcomed the President’s issuance of Executive Order (EO) No. 47, amending EO 125, and the proclamations granting amnesty to communist rebels and Muslim separatists.
She said the Commission commits to speed up the processing of applications of those who are in detention and the elderly so they may enjoy the luxury of freedom and become a partner of the government in bringing the needed reforms in their community.
Marcos issued Proclamations 403, 404, 405 and 406 on Nov. 22 for the granting of the amnesty to rebels and insurgents to encourage them to return to the fold of the law, as part of the administration’s comprehensive peace initiatives.
Proclamation 403 grants amnesty to the members of the RPMP-RPA-ABB who have committed crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code and special penal laws, specifically those committed crimes in pursuit of their political beliefs, whether punishable under the Revised Penal Code or special penal laws.
Proclamation 404 is for former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-National Democratic Front or front organizations who have committed crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code and Special Penal laws in furtherance of their political beliefs.
Proclamations 405 and 406 grant amnesty to the members of the MILF and MNLF, respectively, who have committed crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code and Special Penal Laws to advance their political beliefs.
MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim said the amnesty will allow qualified former MILF combatants to get a new lease in life and seize the opportunity for healing and reconciliation.
The Annex on Normalization under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) provides for the commitment of the Philippine government to employ the mechanism of amnesty, pardon, as well as other processes that may be available for the resolution of cases of persons charged with or convicted of crimes and offenses connected to the armed conflict in Mindanao.
“As a party to the peace pact with the [government], our priority is to ensure that the agreements in the CAB are mutually honored, substantially implemented, and timely completed,” Ebrahim said.
In statements on Friday, Department of National Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said the amnesty is a testament to the commitment of the Marcos administration to sustain gains in internal security and stability, while Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said it is a significant step forward to end all armed conflicts and delivering just and lasting peace.
The Joint Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict for Western Visayas (JRTF6-ELCAC) also threw its support behind the proclamation to attain the “noble goals of ending the more than five decades of civil strife and culture of violence by providing an opportunity to the members of the communist terrorist groups and the various Islamic secessionist movements to lay down their arms and to join the Filipino nation in healing the wounds brought by disunity and strife, and by becoming active participants in nation building.”
“It is our hope and our dream that peace will be won by this generation so that those who shall come after us shall find a Philippines that is free from conflict, a nation that is united in faith, a people bound by a sense of pride in our history, a Filipino nation where the law reigns supreme, and where justice, equality, and freedom defines our way of life,” Prosecutor Flosemer Chris Gonzales, spokesperson of the JRTF6-ELCAC, said.
The Bangsamoro government showed similar support.
“This development is a significant milestone in the achievement of meaningful and enduring peace in the Bangsamoro, as this will form part of former combatants’ full transformation towards being productive and peace-loving Filipino citizens,” the Bangsamoro government said in a statement.
“The Bangsamoro government and the Bangsamoro people express genuine gratitude to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines for showing unwavering commitment to the Bangsamoro peace process and all signed peace agreements with the advancement of these Amnesty Proclamations, which is consequential to the full implementation of the Normalization Track under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.”
The Philippine National Police said it stands in full support of comprehensive peace initiatives which reflect "the administration’s unwavering commitment to national reconciliation and unity and represent(s) a significant step towards bringing individuals involved in insurgent or rebel groups back into the fold of the law.” (PND/PNA)