Commies welcome Duterte’s offer to join democratic government
DAVAO CITY – Communist leaders have welcomed an offer by presumptive president-elect Rodrigo Duterte to head at least four government agencies, saying they look forward in forging an alliance for national unity, peace and development with the new government.
Shortly after winning a landslide victory in the recent national polls, Duterte has immediately offered the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) four cabinet posts to head the Department of Agrarian Reform, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Social Work and Development and the Department of Labor and Employment.
“We view the offer of key cabinet positions made by presumptive president Duterte as an acknowledgement of the strength and political standing of the CPP and revolutionary forces, its effective representation of the interests of workers, peasants, minorities and the broad masses as well as its work in protecting the environment,” the CPP said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
“The CPP and the revolutionary forces welcome the possibility of joining presumptive president Duterte in an alliance government, whether in the form of assigning cabinet positions to the CPP or its endorsees or some other more radical form of unity government which the maverick new president might be open to consider,” it added.
While the CPP said it is not averse to being assigned cabinet positions under certain conditions, “Duterte knows fully well that what are more important to the revolutionary forces are the necessary changes in the policies and programs that govern these departments and the entire government.”
It said there must be a change in the so-called neoliberal policies of the past three decades and cited for instance, the Labor secretary can only effectively serve the interests of the labor sector when there are laws prohibiting “contractualization” and promote unions, and establish a national wage system and substantially raise wages to decent levels.
The CPP also said that the Agrarian secretary will only be able to serve the interests of the peasant masses when there is a genuine land reform program that upholds the social justice tenet of free distribution of land to the tillers and which prohibit landlords, plantations and contract-growers from grabbing and monopolizing lands.
“An alliance or coalition between the Duterte regime and the CPP and revolutionary forces can be realized on the basis of such principles as national sovereignty and social justice, which are questions at the core of the current armed conflict. This includes, among others, the need for genuine land reform, industrialization and economic development, jobs, ending US troop presence in the country and many others,” it said.
The CPP also welcomes the proposed resumption of the stalled peace talks with Duterte’s government, saying it is an excellent opportunity to discuss the socio-economic issues confronting the people.
“The CPP further encourages the presumptive president to engage in discussions with workers, peasants and other massbased organizations to enable him to listen to their grievances and see the urgent need to address their situation with substantial changes in policy,” it said.
Government peace talks with the CPP and its political arm, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, and the rebel group New People’s Army failed under the Arroyo administration after it rejected communist demands to free all political prisoners in the country, and remove the US terror tag on the rebels.
There was no immediate reaction from Washington on Duterte’s offer to the communist rebels, but just recently, President Barack Obama spoke by phone with Duterte and congratulated him. The White House said even Obama noted that the successful election and record voter participation were emblematic of the Philippines’ vibrant democracy.
“The President highlighted the enduring values that underpin our thriving alliance with the Philippines and the longstanding ties between our two peoples, including our shared commitments to democracy, human rights, rule of law, and inclusive economic growth,” the White House said. It said the two leaders affirmed their interest in seeing the relationship continue to grow on the basis of these shared principles.
Prof. Jose Maria Sison (Photo from Philippine Revolution Web Central)