Marcos Jr.’s amnesty program is a smokescreen for AFP’s killing spree

Statement of the NDFP International Office

Marcos Jr.’s so-called ‘amnesty program’ serves only to cover up the AFP’s (Armed Forces of the Philippines) atrocities in a desperate attempt to meet their constantly shifting deadline of ending the New People’s Army (NPA). As the AFP’s killing spree continues unabated, Marcos Jr.’s administration presents the illusion of ‘reconciliation’ and dangles so-called ‘livelihood programs’, hoping to distract from the carnage unfolding in the Philippine countryside.

True enough, the NTF-Elcac (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) and its military leaders gleefully capitalized on Marcos Jr.’s amnesty offer to deodorize its own reputation after several United Nations rapporteurs have unequivocally called for its abolition.

On the other hand, the AFP has been engaged in a relentless nationwide bombing campaign in the past few months. Just last April 2, the AFP bombed communities in Maria, Ilocos Sur and Pilar, Abra causing deep fright and trauma among civilians and disrupting their livelihoods. Several other aerial bombing incidents followed by strafing, rocket-firing and artillery shelling were also documented in Bohol, Bukidnon, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Negros Occidental, Panay and Quezon in just the first three months of the year.

This brazen use of aerial bombardment undermines the very essence of international humanitarian law meant to minimize damage on civilian lives in the context of civil war. Aerial bombing campaigns inherently lack precision and discriminate poorly between legitimate military targets and civilian populations, resulting in the disproportionate and indiscriminate loss of civilian lives and property. Such tactics, utilized by the AFP, demonstrate a callous disregard for the sanctity of human life and the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precaution enshrined in international laws governing the rules of war.

These flagrant IHL violations are also indicative of Marcos Jr.’s sheer desperation to defeat the NPA and please his US imperialist masters. His administration’s ever-changing deadlines and inconsistent figures on the NPA’s strength however reveals their utter failure to end the armed resistance of the Filipino people. As long as landlessness, joblessness and widespread poverty exists, the roots of armed conflict will remain and the NPA will continue to surge in strength. #