A Chinese proverb says: “Solve one problem and keep a hundred away.” Insurgency is a national problem that needs immediate solution to keep a hundred related problems away. No lasting peace is achieved if the government fails to effectively address the problem of insurgency, which tends to grow bigger over time and create new problems. Without lasting peace, there’s no economic growth.
President Marcos recently granted amnesty to former and current members of insurgent and rebel groups who committed crimes “in pursuit of political beliefs,” whether they are punishable under special penal laws of the Revised Penal Code.
Malacañang issued Executive Order No. 47 on November 22 establishing the National Amnesty Commission. “There is hereby created the National Amnesty Commission, which shall be primarily tasked with receiving and processing applications for amnesty and determining whether the applicants are entitled to amnesty under Proclamation Nos. 403, 404, 405 and 406,” the President’s EO read.
Proclamations 403, 404, 405, and 406 grant amnesty to former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front, Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade, and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front.
The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) hailed the signing of the proclamations for former rebels as a testament to the government’s unwavering commitment to unity, peace and justice toward genuine development.
“This is the moment that we all have been praying for our brothers and sisters who were blinded by their lost causes, particularly the CPP-NPA-NDF and the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas [RPMP] to be formally reintegrated into mainstream society. In issuing these amnesty proclamations, the President recognizes the complexity of our nation’s history and the diverse narratives that have shaped it. 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,” NTF-ELCAC said.
“We thank the President for always walking the talk with a clear vision rooted in the principles of reconciliation and unity. The amnesty serves as a bridge toward healing and reintegration for individuals who once stood on opposing sides of armed conflict. It is imperative to emphasize the profound commitment to justice and societal healing embedded within this amnesty program,” it added.
The NTF-ELCAC also called on the remaining members of the CPP-NPA-NDF and RPMP to give up the armed struggle and embrace this opportunity to finally reunite with their families, loved ones, and communities and become productive and peaceful members of our society once again.
“Let us move forward together, transcending past conflicts and differences, towards a future where peace reigns supreme. Our collective efforts today lay the groundwork for a more cohesive and prosperous Philippines tomorrow,” it said.
The MNLF sees the amnesty declaration as the country’s chance to achieve lasting peace. Ustadz Abdulkarim Tan Misuari, Deputy Speaker of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority Parliament, said President Marcos “has displayed his genuine desire to heal the wounds of the past and foster brotherhood.”
“By choosing amnesty, the President showcases his sincerity and foresight, recognizing that dialogue and negotiation are keys to resolving conflicts with those who once stood against the government,” said Ustadz, the son of MNLF founder Nur Misuari.
The amnesty, however, doesn’t apply to those charged under Republic Act 9372 (Human Security Act of 2007) or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 (RA 11479). Also disqualified from availing themselves of the amnesty are those who engaged in kidnap for ransom, massacre, rape, terrorism, crimes committed against chastity as defined in the Revised Penal Code, as amended, crimes committed for personal ends, violation of RA 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
The proclamation will also not cover those with grave violations of the Geneva Convention of 1949, and those identified by the United Nations as crimes that can never be the subject of amnesty such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, enforced disappearances, and other gross violations of human rights.
Marcos said he decided to extend the amnesty to former rebels and other insurgents to “create a climate conducive for peace and reconciliation” in the country. The endgame is unity, peace, reconciliation, and healing.