The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) dismissed President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s amnesty proclamation announcement in his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) before Congress yesterday, July 24.
CPP chief information officer Marco Valbuena said their group and the New People’s Army (NPA) firmly reject Marcos Jr.’s “treacherous offer of amnesty and surrender” as an additional instrument of deception and oppression.
The CPP added communists and revolutionary fighters remain true to the aspirations of the Filipino people and that their cause is genuine freedom and social justice is far greater than any offer of amnesty.
“Revolutionaries are motivated not by the selfish desire for some personal gain, rather by the selfless devotion to serve and struggle with the people,” Valbuena said.
In his SONA, Marcos claimed the government’s Barangay Development Program (BDP) and the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) are solving the root causes of armed conflict in the country.
“Through community development and livelihood programs, the barangay development and enhanced comprehensive local integration program have been effective in addressing the root cause of conflict in the countryside,” Marcos said.
“To complete this reintegration process, I will issue a proclamation granting amnesty to rebel returnees and I ask Congress to support me in this endeavor,” he added.
The CPP however said that Marcos is being grossly insolent and is seriously mistaken to think that NPA fighters will line up to gain a few individual concessions in exchange for giving up the cause they have committed themselves to.
“Marcos’ offer of amnesty for those who will surrender is duplicitous, considering that close to 800 political prisoners remain in jails, and every day, people are being arrested and persecuted for their political beliefs and social commitment,” Valbuena said.
Valbuena also scored Marcos’ claim that government is effectively addressing the root cause of conflict in the countryside.
”[These] are utterly devoid of the truth and completely out of touch with reality,” Valbuena said.
The CPP officer said government’s community development and livelihood programs, farm to market roads as well as its newly-signed New Agrarian Emancipation Act only perpetuate the basic problems of social injustice and poverty that are rooted in the problem of landlessness.
“The Marcos regime ignores the outstanding clamor of the peasant majority population for genuine land reform, and the Filipino people’s demand for national industrialization,” Valbuena said.
He added widespread economic dislocation and agricultural crisis in the countryside continue in the countryside under the Marcos Jr. government.
Valbuena pointed out that hundreds of thousands of farmers and minority people are being dispossessed of land and their means of production.
“Agricultural and ancestral land are being grabbed by the expansion of plantations and mining operations, real estate, construction of dams, ecotourism, ‘green’ energy and other foreign-funded infrastructure projects. Millions of peasant tillers and fisher folk are being forced to bankruptcy by wanton importation of rice, sugar, vegetables and other agricultural and aquatic produce,” he said.
Since he took office in June 30, 2022, Marcos Jr. had been concurrent secretary of the Department of Agriculture which struggled with smuggling and agricultural product price manipulation controversies.
Worse, Valbuena said, peasant masses are daily subjected to worsening forms of oppression and exploitation, particularly those who voice grievances and choose to assert their demands who are subjected to political repression by government agents.
“Military and police abuses, summary killings, torture, unlawful detention, enforced disappearances and other violations of human rights are most rampant in the countryside, and are being carried out with utmost impunity,” Valbuena complained.
The CPP said amnesty offers to those who take up arms had only been sugar-coated bullets against revolutionary forces.
The group recalled United States of America’s colonial government in the Philippines offered amnesty to Filipino freedom fighter Macario Sakay and his government in 1905 only to publicly execute him in 1907.
In 1946, some leaders of the Hukbalahap were baited by the amnesty program of President Elpidio Quirino only to be murdered a few months later.
The Hukbalahap (Hukbong Mapaglaya Laban sa Hapon) was a Communist guerilla army that fought the invading Japanese Imperial Army during World War II and is regarded as forerunner to the NPA.
The CPP also cited Presidents Corazon Aquino and Gloria Arroyo’s amnesty programs but under whose respective governments several killings and massacres of farmers would occur.
Valbuena said Marcos Jr.’s government is similar to his predecessors in its drive for ‘localized peace talks’ and ‘surrender drive’ in which rural communities are subjected to military occupation, psychological warfare and intelligence and combat operations.
Many of these communities are later declared as “insurgency free,” characterized by well-publicized “mass surrender” ceremonies.
Valbuena also cited the mass filing of charges against mass organizations and activists under the Anti-Terrorism Law.