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Marcos eyes amnesty for ex-rebels

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday said he will issue a Presidential Proclamation granting amnesty to rebel returnees.

Marcos said such amnesty, which needs Congress’ concurrence, is necessary to sustain the gains in the fight against insurgency.

“To guarantee full decommissioning of combatants, we have provided community development, livelihood assistance in our reintegration process. To complement this, I will issue a proclamation granting amnesty to rebel returnees, and I ask Congress to support me in this endeavor,” Marcos said, earning applause from the audience.

“For almost half a century, some of our fellow Filipinos have taken to arms to make their views known and felt. We are now at a point when their armed struggle has evolved and progressed towards peace and development.

As it is, Marcos said the state’s capacity-building and social protection programs are already working and are something that the grant of amnesty can solidify.

Northern Samar

Earlier this month, Marcos Jr. expressed confidence that communist rebel groups will be dismantled in Northern Samar by the end of the year.

While there, Marcos said he could not wait to visit Northern Samar again and declare that it is free from insurgency and lauded the improved situation in the province.

He also said the government would give full support and assistance upon the rebels' return.

Over 6,200 sympathizers and communist personalities in the region surrendered and two guerilla fronts were dismantled in Northern Samar, according to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).

Marawi City

Likewise, Marcos said that Marawi city, devastated by terrorist assault five years ago, is about to recover alongside the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

“Babangon na ang Marawi city. Nanunumbalik na ang sigla ng pamayanan, nakukumpleto na ang mga proyekto," Marcos said.

"We are working on the grant of financial aid to Marawi siege victims so they can start rebuilding their lives towards peace and progress," Marcos added in Filipino, referring to the Marawi Compensation Law. —VAL, GMA Integrated News