Government eyes amnesty for 10,000 communist rebels

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Up to 10,000 communist rebels may avail themselves of the amnesty to be offered by the government, presidential adviser for peace, reconciliation and unity Carlito Galvez Jr. said yesterday.

He said the figure covers surrenderees from the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), among other communist rebel groups.

He said 26,414 rebels have surrendered, around 2,000 of whom are facing charges.

Galvez said the Marcos administration is waiting for “guidance” from the Senate on the grant of amnesty.

NPA rebels have been fighting the government for more than five decades, making it the longest-running communist insurgency in the world, according to experts.

Last month, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict recommended the grant of amnesty to rebels to prevent the resurgence of communist terrorist groups, especially in isolated and disadvantaged areas.

The task force also recommended the implementation and enhancement of programs designed to empower local governments, strengthen partnerships with stakeholders, ensure peace and law enforcement in the communities as well as provide assistance to former rebels.

In 2017, then president Rodrigo Duterte announced that he was ending peace negotiations with communist rebels because of their “acts of violence and hostilities.” The group is not sincere in pursuing peace, he added.

Duterte accused the CPP-NPA of pushing for a coalition government, a power-sharing setup that he said is against the Constitution.

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