FVR gave rebels ‘second chances’ —Sec. Galvez

The Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) said the creation of the National Amnesty Commission (NAC) is crucial to encouraging rebels to embrace the constitutional peace process.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., said the establishment of the NAC could help the government address the root causes of armed conflicts.

Galvez recalled himself as a young military rebel officer who joined the December 1989 coup against then-President Corazon Aquino.

He was among those granted amnesty by former President Fidel Ramos in 1996, after spending years in detention at Fort Bonifacio, along with some of his 1985 classmates at the Philippine Military Academy who also took part in the foiled coup.

“I will forever be grateful to FVR because he gave me and my fellow officers a second chance in life. It was through that amnesty proclamation that I was able to revive my military service and go on to become the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ chief-of-staff,” Galvez said.

Secretary Galvez said this was the reason why OPAPRU, under his leadership, has been pushing for the formal establishment of the NAC anchored on Executive Order (EO) 125 issued by former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in February 2021.

Relative to EO 125, Duterte also issued Presidential Proclamations 1090, 1091, 1092 and 1093 which granted amnesty to members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Fron, Rebolusyonaryong Partidong Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade- Tabara Paduano Group, and the Communist Party of the Philippines — New People’s Army–National Democratic Front.

The proposal to establish the NAC through a law is a manifestation that the national government is determined to communicate the roots of the armed conflict in the country, as well as to “provide a better life for the former combatants,” Galvez said.

“With the creation of the NAC, we hope to provide former rebels with an opportunity to fully reintegrate themselves into mainstream society as peaceful, productive, and law-abiding individuals,” he added.

Galvez paid tribute to Ramos saying that the latter has imprinted strong legacies on amnesty and pushed for long-lasting peace in the Philippines.

“What made former President Ramos remarkable as a leader was his invaluable contribution to the comprehensive Philippine peace process. Even though he was a military man, peace was an integral part of his DNA,” Galvez said.

He emphasized that Ramos was a statesman “who had a very good appreciation” of the peace process.

“He knew that peace and development initiatives had to be implemented simultaneously. This mindset would become the hallmark of his administration,” Galvez added.

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