House party leaders back PBBM’s initiative for peace, national unity

By Jose Cielito Reganit

December 5, 2023, 2:49 pm

MANILA – Political party leaders at the House of Representatives issued a joint statement on Tuesday expressing their full support for the peace and national unity initiative of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

“As the united voice of the House of Representatives, representing all political parties, we collectively express our unwavering support for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s initiative for peace and national unity. This historic move marks a pivotal moment in our nation’s journey towards lasting peace and sustainable development,” the statement read.

The party leaders pointed out that despite the diverse perspectives and ideologies within their ranks, they stand together in their commitment for the greater good of the Philippines.

“We are united in the belief that through dialogue, empathy, and mutual respect, we can overcome historical divides and build a more inclusive and peaceful nation,” they said.

They also noted that President Marcos' call for peace transcends political boundaries and speaks to the core of our shared values as Filipinos.

“It is a call for understanding, cooperation, and collective action towards a future where every citizen can live in harmony and prosperity,” the statement read.

They also vowed to support and “contribute constructively” to the peace process and urged all Filipinos to do the same.

“We urge all Filipinos, from every corner of our archipelago, to join us in this noble pursuit. It is only through our joint efforts that we can turn the aspirations of peace, unity, and progress into reality,” the party leaders said.

“In solidarity, we commend President Marcos for his visionary leadership. Together, as a united House of Representatives and as one nation, we look forward to a future marked by peace, unity, and prosperity for all Filipinos.”

The joint statement was signed by House of Representatives Secretary-General Reginald Velasco, “by authority of the Party Leaders.”

In a separate statement, Velasco said the House party leaders include Senior Deputy Speaker and Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr., Majority Leader and Zamboanga City Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe, and Agusan del Norte Rep. Jose Aquino II of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats; Rizal Rep. Michael John Duavit, Deputy Speaker and Ilocos Sur Rep. Kristine Singson-Meehan, and Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga of the Nationalist People's Coalition; Deputy Speaker and Las Piñas City Rep. Camille Villar, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, and Romblon Rep. Eleandro Jesus Madrona of the Nacionalista Party;

Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte, Antipolo City Rep. Robbie Puno, and Bataan Rep. Albert Garcia of the National Unity Party; Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Zaldy Co, Bicol Saro Party-list Rep. Brian Raymund Yamsuan, and Barangay Health & Wellness Party-list Rep. Angelica Natasha Co of the Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc.; Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco of Partido Navoteño; and representative of other political parties.

Comprehensive peace initiatives

The House party leaders issued the statement after President Marcos signed several amnesty proclamations in favor of various rebel groups.

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 Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade 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 Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples’ Army-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 Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front, respectively, who have committed crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code and Special Penal Laws to advance their political beliefs.

Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez has earlier led the filing of House Concurrent Resolution Nos. 19, 20, 21, and 22, which sought to concur with the amnesty proclamations.

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. also announced that the Philippine government and National Democratic Front have agreed to a “principled and peaceful resolution of the armed conflict” after signing a joint statement in Oslo, Norway on Nov. 23. (PNA)