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PIA Press Release

Amnesty proclamation to hasten end of insurgency woes, says PNP CentCom

Cebu City (27 September) -- Proclamation No. 1377 that aims to grant amnesty to rebels will hasten the military's efforts in virtually eradicating domestic armed conflict and fast track economic progress.

Central Command Spokesperson Jefferson Omandam issued the statement to reporters during the recent monthly police forum "Talakayan sa Isyung Pulis" where insurgency and terrorism were part of the discussion.

Omandam said the proclamation recently signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is a welcome move to encourage rebels to go back into the folds of the law without any retribution for criminal wrongdoings that were done in pursuit of their political beliefs.

The proclamation that seeks to end hostilities and offer genuine reconciliation to achieve lasting peace for the nation's ultimate development, is also seen as a move that lessens the threats on acts of terrorism, this is said.

Omandam said back channeling (amnesty) is necessary and effective if we are to realize the end to insurgency within three years, which he said is an ambitious objective but doable based on the steadying decline on the number of rebels.

President Arroyo has issued a timetable to the Armed Forces of the Philippines to crush out the insurgency problem by the time her term ends in 2010.

In Cebu, Omandam bared the CentCom has successfully disabled the rebels as only two guerilla fronts out of seven are operating but that its operations are struggling and barely functioning.

The active participation of the local government units has largely contributed to the downward trend of the strength of the insurgents in Central Visayas, according to Omandam.

Central Command is currently strengthening its information campaign in far flung rural areas to educate folks about the negative effects of communism to counter any recruitment efforts on the part of the leftist wing.

Such information campaign has been very effective in opening the eyes of the ordinary and simple rural folks as most that joined the armed groups are ignorant of what they are getting into, Omandam said.

Government is optimistic that the amnesty program is a step towards genuine reconciliation and that those who avail of the amnesty can go back into living a normal life and support the government in its efforts to revive the country's economy and end poverty.

It is hoped that with this recent amnesty program, rebels will be encouraged to go back into the mainstream of society and live a normal life as well as support the government in its efforts to revive the country's economy and virtually end poverty.

Omandam added that P100T will be given to each rebel returnee as an incentive for them to surrender their arms and cooperate with the government although the implementing guidelines are still being finalized regarding such benefit.

The amnesty decree is part of the social integration program for former rebels as provided under Administrative Order No. 172 which the President issued on March 23, 2007.

Those who want to avail of the amnesty must file their application under oath with the National Committee on Social Integration (NCSI) and the Provincial or City Peace and Order Council Amnesty Centers (P/CPOC-ACs) within six months from the effectivity of the proclamation. (PIA) [top]

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