Statement of Asterio Palima on Amnesties and Peace Negotiations

Statement of Asterio B. Palima
Member, NDFP Negotiating Panel
28 November 2023

On Amnesties and Peace Negotiations

Four days ago, President Marcos Jr. of the GRP, issued Proclamation 404 to grant amnesty to the CPP/NPA/NDFP among other groups.  The amnesty claims to seek “peace, unity and reconciliation.”

Since the very beginning of the peace negotiations many decades ago, the NDFP has always asserted that a just and lasting peace can only be attained by addressing the roots of the civil war. This kind of amnesty program does not address/is unresponsive to the socioeconomic and political factors that drive Filipinos to rebel. It fails to provide the opportunity to enact social, economic and political reforms that will pave the way for a just and lasting peace.

Any amnesty program should be the result of negotiated peace that is based on justice and addressing the roots of the civil war.  In fact, this was discussed in the previous negotiations but such negotiations were terminated six years ago. By that time the two Parties through their respective technical working groups had already discussed and agreed upon a substancial portion of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms. The Parties had even set up committees for the remaining substantial agendas, namely, political and constitutional reforms; and end of hostilities and disposition of the armed forces. Sadly, this momentum had been dissipated and lost.

Today, more and more Filipinos and their groups are clamoring for resumption of the peace negotiations and address the roots of the armed conflict. Amnesty declarations or not, jailed NDFP peace consultants need to be released, as well as the more than 800 political prisoners unjustly kept in prison, on the basis of a negotiated mode or modes of release arising from the bilateral peace process. #