Duterte’s latest idea of general amnesty does not fool anyone in the revolutionary movement

National Democratic Front of the Philippines
National Executive Committee

Press Statement
26 September 2017

Duterte’s latest plan to grant “general amnesty” to NPA fighters who surrender is nothing but a psywar tool to create division within the revolutionary movement and to spread an illusion of magnanimity among the general public.

The GRP panel head Silvestre H. Bello III must explain to his principal that his latest idea of general amnesty is absolutely unacceptable to the NDFP because it violates the letter and spirit of the whole GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.

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 soldiers as 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 Hague Joint Declaration has 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. In other words to solve the problems of widespread poverty among the majority on the one hand and scandalous wealth among the few on the other, monopoly of political power by oligarchs and political dynasties and powerlessness among the masses, etc.

Duterte’s latest idea of amnesty violates the letter and spirit of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations because 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.

Duterte’s latest idea of amnesty is different from his promise in May 2016 to Fidel Agcaoili to grant amnesty to all the political prisoners being held in GRP prisons as a confidential building measure for the resumption of the peace negotiations upon the assumption of Duterte to the GRP presidency.

That promise which was intended as a confidence-building measure has now been distorted and turned into a psywar tool upon the advice of the war-freaks around him, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Ano. It is only bound to heighten mutual animosity rather than create a favorable atmosphere for the resumption of the GRP- NDFP peace negotiations.

If Duterte is really serious in talking peace with the NDFP, he must listen to the wise counsel of his peace negotiating panel head Sec. Bello who is knowledgeable about the history of the peace negotiations and the stand of the NDFP on many questions rather than to the pro-US militarists who know nothing but to wage war against the revolutionary movement and the people. #