SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go hailed President Rodrigo Duterte for measures that seek to enhance the government’s peace building efforts by granting amnesty to and facilitating the reintegration of current and former rebels into normal civilian life.
“Ayokong nagpapatayan ang mga Pilipino sa kapwa Pilipino. Kung may namamatay na sundalo, nauulila ang pamilya. ‘Pag may namatay sa kabilang panig, nauulila rin ang kanilang pamilya,” said Go.
“Sino ang kawawa? Pilipino pa rin. Walang katapusan ito ‘pag idadaan n’yo sa armed struggle. Magmalasakit po tayo sa mga inosenteng nadadamay,” he continued.
Go confirmed that President Duterte approved a series of Presidential Proclamations to help nurture a climate that is conducive to peace and to implement reconciliation and reintegration activities.
These proclamations shall take effect upon concurrence by a majority of all the members of Congress. These aim to offer amnesty to members of rebel groups.
To carry out the responsibility of administering the amnesty, an Executive Order creating the National Amnesty Commission was also signed by the President, as announced by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
The Commission will be responsible for receiving and processing applications, as well as determining if the applicants are eligible for amnesty, subject to the approval of the President.
Go emphasized that by providing reintegration programs, services and support, the government can further address the causes of the former rebels’ socio-economic insecurities and give them an opportunity to start anew.
“Naiintindihan po ng gobyerno ang hirap na pinagdadaanan ng mga kababayan nating may mga pinaglalaban. Kung kaya’t sinisikap natin na maramdaman nila na nandirito lang ang gobyernong nagmamalasakit sa kanila at ginagawa ang lahat para mabigyan ng mas komportableng buhay ang bawat Pilipino,” Go stressed.
“Patuloy po ang serbisyo at tulong natin sa mga nagbabalik loob na former rebels para makapagsimula sila muli at magkaroon ng mas maayos na buhay. Binibigyan rin natin sila ng oportunidad na maging bahagi ng kanilang komunidad at makatulong sa pag-asenso ng buong bansa,” explained the Senator.
In 2018, President Duterte issued EO 17 which directed the adoption of a national peace framework that provided a clear direction for the harmonized and synchronized delivery of services in conflict-affected and vulnerable areas.
“Isinusulong ko na mas pagbutihin pa natin ang mga suporta para sa mga nais magbalik-loob. Dagdagan natin ang mga livelihood assistance na may kasamang skills training, pabahay, lupang sasakahin, libreng gamot, at suporta sa pag-aaral ng kanilang mga anak,” Go added.
Go, however, stressed that new amnesty grants should not cover rebels involved in drugs, kidnapping, terrorism, rape, and other crimes committed for personal interests. It should also exclude torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other violations of human rights identified by the United Nations, as well as violations of the Geneva Convention of 1949.
“Gusto ko ng kapayapaan, lalong-lalo na sa Mindanao. Suportado ko ito. Iisa ang aming layunin ni Pangulo Duterte, ang magkaroon ng long-lasting peace and development sa ating bansa,” Go ended.