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AFP chief Centino backs amnesty for former rebels

Armed Forces chief General Andres Centino on Thursday expressed support for the proposed amnesty for former rebels.

In a statement, the Task Force Balik-Loob (TFBL) said Centino noted the value of a multi-faceted approach in addressing the armed insurgency including the granting of amnesty.

“I have advocated that other approaches of government in dealing with insurgency should be considered, such as yung pagbigay talaga ng amnesty [the granting of amnesty],” Centino said.

According to Centino, some members of the New People’s Army (NPA) are apprehensive about surrendering to authorities because of their pending cases in court.

The military chief encouraged the public to accept  former rebels in their community and give them fair treatment and support so they can adjust easily with their return to mainstream society.

He said the strength of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has been “significantly” reduced and their members now are present only in a few remaining areas in the country.

“We are confident that it will not take long before their force is reduced to a minimum,” he said.

In July 2022, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict strongly recommended to President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. the offering of amnesty to the communist rebels.

The government's anti-insurgency task force in November 2023 appealed to the Senate to support the measure seeking to provide amnesty to communist rebels.

In February 2021, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamations Nos. 1090, 1091, 1092, and 1093, granting amnesty to members of rebel organizations and communist groups.

The grant of amnesty requires an admission of guilt on the part of beneficiaries and the concurrence of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

In January 2022, the Senate concurred only with Proclamation Nos. 1090, 1091, and 1092, which cover amnesty for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas-Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB).

Proclamation No. 1093, which was left out by the Senate, seeks to grant amnesty to former rebels from the CPP who have committed crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code and Special Penal Laws in furtherance of their political beliefs. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News