Politics

Amnesty program opened for members of rebel groups 

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FORMER members of the New People’s Army, also referred to as communist terrorist group by the government, attend an orientation activity in Nueva Ecija as part of the reintegration program for rebel returnees. — OPAPRU/PEACE.GOV.PH

THOUSANDS of rebels from various groups are expected to avail themselves of the government’s amnesty offer, a peace agency said on Thursday.  

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity expects as many as 10,000 members of the Moro National Liberation Front, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Revolutionary Proletarian Army, and Cordillera People’s Liberation Army to surrender to the government.  

About 1,500 members of the Maoist New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), are also expected to apply for amnesty, the agency said in a message to BusinessWorld.   

The National Security Council claimed last month that the number of Maoist rebels across the country had decreased to 2,000.  

Former President Rodrigo R. Duterte revived peace talks with the CPP along with its political arm National Democratic Front of the Philippines in 2016, but the process failed over ceasefire protocols. A localized peace talks strategy was later launched focusing on NPA clusters.  

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s national security adviser has said the current administration would continue with the localized peace talks.  

The NPA gained significant force during the Martial Law regime of Mr. Marcos’ father, the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos. The older Marcos was toppled through a popular uprising in 1986. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza