PASAY CITY (16 May 2023) – The national government is determined to help former rebels (FRs) fully reintegrate into mainstream society and rebuild their lives as peaceful and productive citizens of society.
This, as the National Amnesty Commission (NAC) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) which aims to fast track the amnesty applications of FRs.
The MOA was signed by NAC Chairperson Atty. Leah Tanodra-Armamento and NBI Director Medardo G. de Lemos.
Under the MOA, the NAC and the NBI shall work together to help create a, “climate conducive for peace and implementation of programs for reconciliation and reintegration of rebels into mainstream of society.”
As contained in the agreement, the NAC shall submit a formal request to the NBI to check and verify the information of individuals applying for amnesty, while the NBI will provide the NAC with the necessary information relating to the records of the amnesty applicants.
Once the President approves the application for amnesty of the FRs, the NBI will update their records. The processing of the applications for amnesty shall be protected by the provisions of the Data Privacy Act of 2012.
Forgiveness is peace
NAC Commissioner Atty. Nasser Marohomsalic underscored the crucial task of the Commission.
“The National Amnesty Commission is favoured with ‘Grace’ for a name, being the agency tasked to petition the government to forgive in the interest of peace members of our society who have brushes with the law or who have a long-running feud with the government for their political beliefs,” Marohomsalic said.
According to NAC Chairperson Atty. Leah Tanodra-Armamento, the MOA will help the commission to efficiently carry out its mandate of processing the amnesty applications of FRs.
She explained the MOA seeks to “to inform the NAC of the universe of the offense which they are charged with and if their amnesty application is granted, then his [or her] name will be cleared of the amnesty offenses in the NBI databases.”
NBI Director Medardo G. de Lemos pledged his agency’s full support in the implementation of the Amnesty Program.
“We, at the NBI, are pro-peace, pro-second chances. The NBI will be the custodian of all criminal records in the country, will not veer away from sharing, within the bounds of the law, information necessary for the Commission to process the applications of our brothers and sisters who intend to get back to the folds of the law – through amnesty,” de Lemos said.
NAC ex-officio member and Defense Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr. also expressed his agency’s support to the Amnesty Program, as he lauded the commission for its accomplishments.
“This laudable collaboration between the NAC and the NBI is a testament to their continued commitment of ensuring that peace, reconciliation, healing, and unity will be attained the soonest,” Galvez said.
Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Juan Victor R. Llamas is hopeful that other line agencies will be open to working with the Commission in the implementation of the Amnesty Program.
“It is our hope that this will follow other government agencies to also collaborate with NAC so that this whole amnesty program will be fulfilled as soon as possible,” Llamas said.
Acting Presidential Adviser for Peace, Reconciliation and Unity Sec. Isidro L. Purisima emphasized the unwavering commitment of the national government in helping to improve the well-being of FRs.
“More importantly, through this partnership between the NAC and NBI, the national government will be able to demonstrate its sincerity and commitment to help uplift the lives of FRs and give them an opportunity to rebuild their lives.”
“This is a realization of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s vision of finally putting an end to the decades-long armed conflict in our country by addressing not only the needs of FRs, but also their families and communities,” he added.
Witnessing the MOA signing were NAC commissioners Atty. Nasser A. Marohomsalic and Atty. Jamar M. Kulayan, and NBI Deputy Director for Operations Jose Justo S. Yap. ###