Jailed Philip­pine com­mu­nists eye amnesty

The Myanmar Times - - World -

HUN­DREDS of de­tained com­mu­nist rebels in the Philip­pines are likely to be granted amnesty, of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day, after fresh talks aimed at end­ing one of Asia’s long­est-run­ning in­sur­gen­cies.

Gov­ern­ment ne­go­tia­tors said in a state­ment they had sub­mit­ted a pro­posal to Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte to free 434 com­mu­nists ac­cused of a range of crimes in­clud­ing mur­der, kid­nap­ping and ar­son.

“The [peace] panel has a com­mit­ment that there will be re­leases. We will fast-track that,” chief gov­ern­ment ne­go­tia­tor Sil­vestre Bello told re­porters in Nor­way at the end of three days of talks with the rebels.

Mr Duterte, who took of­fice on June 30, quickly launched peace talks with the com­mu­nists, say­ing it was his “dream” to end their re­bel­lion that has claimed an es­ti­mated 30,000 lives since 1968.

To kick­start the talks, Mr Duterte re­leased 18 of their top lead­ers and pledged to grant amnesty for other rebels whom the com­mu­nists in­sist were jailed on trumped-up charges.

More than 100 of the rebels slated for amnesty have been in jail for over a decade.

The lat­est state­ments from Mr Bello and other gov­ern­ment ne­go­tia­tors fol­low­ing the sec­ond round of of­fi­cial talks in Nor­way show the amnesty process is on track.

Nev­er­the­less, Mr Duterte’s peace en­voy Je­sus Dureza told AFP via text mes­sage from Nor­way the amnesty was not yet fi­nalised, high­light­ing the fact that it also needed con­gres­sional ap­proval.

The two sides have said they ex­pect to reach a fi­nal peace agree­ment by the mid­dle of next year. –

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.