Marcos planned amnesty aims to obscure gross rights abuses, deceive international community

Malacañang officials announced over the weekend that they are busy preparing an amnesty package which it describes as a “landmark move toward reconciliation and reintegration” but which, in fact, is a treacherous enticement to induce armed revolutionary fighters of the New People’s Army (NPA) to give up their weapons of resistance and surrender the people’s struggle for freedom and democracy.

Marcos is preparing to stage a big show around the planned amnesty declaration to create a distorted picture of “peace and development” in order to cover up the gross state of human rights and international humanitarian law in the Philippines. Marcos aims to use the so-called amnesty program to hide the fact rampant abuses and rights violations continue to be committed by his armed forces with utter impunity.

In particular, Marcos wants to stage the amnesty drama as a show for the European Union, with which negotiations for a free trade agreement are set to commence next month. Wanting to manipulate the European public’s perception, EU President Ursula von der Leyen, during a recent visit to Manila, made the baseless and false declaration that the state of human rights under Marcos “is better.” This is in direct contradiction to the resolution last year of the European Parliament calling for an end to extrajudicial killings and other rights violations by state forces.

In the face of economic recessions and slow growth in Europe, backward economies including the Philippines, and others are being compelled by monopoly capitalists to further liberalize economic trade with Europe under so-called free trade agreements to push down wage levels and completely remove tariffs on imported commodities.

Nothing new is expected from the Marcos regime’s planned “amnesty.” It is set to be no different from the old psywar tricks and tactics used by the fascist forces. Since 2017, this has taken the form of a brutal “surrender drive” aiming at civilians in wholesale violation of international humanitarian law. Tens of thousands have been declared “surrenderees” in gross violation of their civil and political rights.

Under this tactic, peasant villages and communities which the AFP suspects to be part of the broad mass base of the New People’s Army, have been placed under military rule and subjected to severe forms of political repression. Extrajudicial killings, abductions, torture, harassment, strafing and aerial bombings, hamletting, forcible recruitment of paramilitaries and spies, and other abuses continue to be perpetrated by state military and police forces victimizing close to a hundred thousand people in just the first year of Marcos.

Thus, we can expect even worse human rights abuses once Marcos declares his false amnesty, as well as corruption in hundreds of millions of pesos in funds that will be allotted to this and other programs under the auspices of the AFP. In further violation of international humanitarian law, thousands upon thousands more of peasants, workers and other ordinary people will be forced by the military and police to “seek amnesty” in its desperate effort to conjure an image of victory over the people’s armed resistance, especially under his 6-year national security plan.

All these, however, are in vain as the more and more people are being aroused to take the path of resistance to defend their social, economic, cultural and political rights against worsening state terrorism. The Filipino people and the revolutionary forces are ever determined to wage national democratic resistance to attain their aspirations for genuine national freedom and democracy.

Marcos planned amnesty aims to obscure gross rights abuses, deceive international community