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PIA Press Release

Mt. Province supports amnesty to rebels

by Andrew Doga-ong

BONTOC, Mt. Province (7 September) -- The Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) here has expressed its support to the proposal of the government to grant amnesty to communist rebels.

The amnesty program for communist rebels was discussed during the recent National Security Council (NSC) and Cabinet group meeting with President Gloria Arroyo held at Malacanang

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said the reviving of the amnesty proclamation was seen as a key to finally put an end to the decade old communist insurgency problem in the country.

Presenting the issue on the government's proclamation of amnesty to communist rebels during the previous PPOC meeting, governor and PPOC Chairman Maximo Dalog said the amnesty program would open the door for further negotiation and a chance for the rebels to return to the fold of the law and join the mainstream of society.

The governor, however, observed that the government has no specific implementing rules on the participation of the local government units and the peace and order councils in the reconciliation process.

Reacting to the amnesty program, Sadanga vice mayor Francis Dangiwan also observed that the past amnesty program of the government lacks the provision of sustained livelihood programs and employment for rebel returnees (RR).

Bontoc mayor Franklin Odsey said that while we support this amnesty program, it should be strengthened to answer the loopholes of the amnesty programs of the past administration.

In the same NSC and Cabinet cluster meeting, PGMA announced the setting up of P500 Million rebel returnee fund for the processing of amnesty applications and as seed capital for livelihood projects of communist rebels who wants to return to the folds of the law.

Dangiwan suggested that as part of the new amnesty program, rebel returnees who are interested and qualified should be absorbed in the military saying that there are RRs who desire to be assimilated in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Dangiwan in one of the PPOC meeting was suggesting to the Task Force Montanosa, Philippine Army based in the province the possibility of absorbing the RRS to the AFP as they fear something bad might happen to them if they stay long in their respective barangyas.

So far, four RRs returned to the mainstream of society early this year.

The PPOC chairman directed the council secretariat to make the resolution expressing the sentiments of the peace council on the amnesty program and send the same to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. (PIA-MP) [top]

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