DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) seconded the rejection earlier expressed by the Communist Party of the Philippines against President Rodrigo Duterte’s general amnesty offer to the New People’s Army (NPA).
In a statement on Tuesday, September 26, the NDFP said President Duterte’s latest idea of general amnesty for NPA fighters “violates the letter and spirit of the whole peace negotiations.”
Duterte restated in a press conference in the city on Friday his intention to ask Congress to declare general amnesty to NPA members who will surrender.
The communist revolutionaries said they will not accept Duterte’s idea of general amnesty ”as it is conditional on the surrender of NPA fighters even before there is agreement between the two parties on how to address the roots of the armed conflict”.
“The general amnesty conceived of in the Hague Joint Declaration that sets the framework for the whole GRP-NDFP peace negotiations is mutual amnesty for both NPA fighters and GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) soldiers,” NDFP said.
The said general amnesty is part of the Comprehensive Agreement on End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces (CAEHDF) after the two sides have approved the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), and Comprehensive Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reforms (CAPCR).
The NDFP said the Hague Joint Declaration established the principle that the negotiations “are not about the surrender of one side to the other but for the two warring parties to end the armed conflict by forging agreements on addressing the social, economic and political roots of the armed conflict.”
It added that solving the problem of the armed conflict means to address the cause of widespread poverty where only a few has the control of the nation’s wealth.
The NDFP also said that Duterte’s recent idea of amnesty is different from his promise to NDFP peace panel chair Fidel Agcaoili in May last year. Agcaoili said Duterte promised to grant amnesty to all the political prisoners as a confidence-building measure for the resumption of the peace negotiations.
Duterte said he is open to resume the negotiations with the Communists, however, he reiterated his demand that the guerrilla fighters should stop its offensives.
The NDFP said Duterte’s recent statement is a “psywar tool to create division within the revolutionary movement and to spread an illusion of magnanimity among the general public”.(davaotoday.com)