Granting amnesty to NPA members
TACLOBAN CITY- Providing amnesty to the members of the communist terror group, the New People’s Army (NPA), in the region is not a remote.
This after Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla revealed that he will bring the matter at the regional panel of the End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC).
The proposal to give amnesty to rebels was pushed by Fr. Edwin Perito, representing the religious sector of the Leyte peace and order council, as a way to encourage more NPAs to surrender and give up their armed struggle.
The priest said that one of the problems that they have received in convincing NPA members to surrender is when they brought up the cases filed against them.
“They are afraid to surrender because they are facing charges,” Perito said.
“Do we have a local amnesty to encourage them surrender?” Perito asked.
“We can discuss that matter with the ELCAC if we can suggest that,” Petilla replied.
“In ELCAC we have discussed many programs but we never talked about amnesty,” the governor added.
He stressed that those who surrenders are provided with livelihood and financial assistance under the enhanced comprehensive local integration program.
“Several of those who surrendered were given assistance under E-CLIP which does not cover relative to the cases filed against them,” Petilla said.
He added that aside from discussing the matter at the regional ELCAC level, this concern should also be brought to officials in the national level for them to decide.
Giving amnesty to rebel members is not part of the ELCAC program of the national government.
The program which aims to convince rebel members to return to the fold of law to start a new life in normal community mainly focuses on the “whole-of-nation approach” wherein government agencies and their partners provide government services to areas affected by insurgency problem.
A resolution filed at the House of Representatives has been filed calling to grant amnesty not only to the NPA members but to include the members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Moro National Liberation Front, and the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Mangagawa ng Pilipinas/ Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Bonyacao Brigade.