MANILA – The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Secretariat lauded President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s announcement that he will be issuing a proclamation granting amnesty to all rebel returnees as this highlights the government’s commitment to achieving peace.

“The NTF-ELCAC Secretariat welcomes the message of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s call to our Congress, to support the granting of amnesty to our rebel returnees. This reflects our country’s commitment to achieving unity, peace, and development amidst the challenges posed by communist terrorism that has long plagued our country and impacted our economy,” NTF-ELCAC National Secretariat executive director Undersecretary Ernesto C. Torres Jr. said in a statement late Monday.

He added that this amnesty initiative will bolster the NTF-ELCAC’s call for the remaining armed combatants to lay down their weapons and embrace the path to peace.

“It will make the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program more inclusive and more appealing to the remnants of the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) for them to rebuild their lives and contribute to our nation’s development,” Torres noted.

The anti-insurgency body also said it remains steadfast to its goal to end local communist armed conflict and urged all government agencies, local government units and the entire citizenry to support the President’s call for peace.

“Let us come together as one nation in our commitment to end local communist armed conflict and achieve unity, peace, and development that the Filipino people rightfully deserve.

During his second State of the Nation Address, the Chief Executive said he will issue a proclamation granting amnesty to rebel returnees and requested the help of Congress to make it happen.

“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,” Marcos emphasized.

A new proclamation is needed to extend the application process of the amnesty program, which lapsed in January this year. The previous proclamations were issued during the time of former president Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Marcos earlier appointed Leah Tanodra-Armamento as chairperson and Jamar Kulayan and Nasser Marahomsalic as commissioners of the National Amnesty Commission. (PNA)