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83 former rebels apply for amnesty

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Some of the former rebels who have filed amnesty applications before the Local Amnesty Board in Bacolod City, pledge to support the duly constituted government.* PA photo

A total of 83 former New People’s Army rebels in Negros Occidental have applied for amnesty before the Local Amnesty Board (LAB) of Bacolod, as of July 9.

Fifty-three of the former rebels surrendered to the 79th Infantry Battalion, while 30 others gave themselves up to the 62nd Infantry Battalion, according to a statement issued by the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade.

The 79IB assisted the 53 former rebels in the processing and filing of amnesty, according to its Civil Military Operations officer, 1Lt. Dan Carlo Somoza.

Somoza disclosed that majority of former rebels who surrendered to the 79IB are members of the Indigenous People’s community in northern Negros.

The number of former rebels who expressed their intention to avail of the government amnesty program is expected to increase, as those who surrendered to 94th Infantry Battalion, are now being prepared for transport to Bacolod City.

The five-day filing of amnesty applications started on July 8 and will end on July 12 in Bacolod City.

President Marcos issued Executive Order No. 47 in November last year, amending Executive Order No. 125, series of 2021, or the Creation of the National Amnesty Commission (NAC) to cover the processing of the applications for amnesty under Proclamations 403, 404, 405 and 406.

Under Proclamation No. 404, President Marcos granted amnesty to the former members of the CPP-NPA-NDF who committed crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code and Special Penal laws in furtherance of their political beliefs, among other offenses.

The granting of amnesty is also among the main confidence-building measures under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s (NTF-ELCAC) local peace engagement framework, Normalization Program under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), Transformation Program for MNLF members, as well as the clarificatory implementing document signed between the national government and the RPMP-RPA-ABB or KAPATIRAN.

Colonel Victor Llapitan, deputy commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade and a member of the LAB Bacolod Committee, said that the positive reaction from the former rebels indicates their trust and support in the program.

Llapitan also expressed hope that through the government’s amnesty program, all former rebels in Negros would be granted amnesty for a smooth reintegration into mainstream society.

He further said that those granted amnesty would regain their political and civil rights and be seamlessly reintegrated into society without repercussions for their past actions.*

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