NDF: Left satisfied with two Cabinet posts
HONG KONG—Four would have been great but two are okay.
National Democratic Front (NDF) spokesperson Fidel Agcaoili on Wednesday hailed the appointment by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte of two progressives to his Cabinet.
Agcaoili said the Left “understood” as to why Duterte was not able to fulfill his promise to name four members of the Left to his official family, adding that this would boost efforts to revive the peace process with communist rebels.
On Tuesday, Duterte named former Anakpawis party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano as his agrarian reform secretary and University of the Philippines professor Judy Taguiwalo as head of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
“Of course, that’s a welcome development. It means President-elect Digong is standing up to his commitment. We understand why he decided to (renege on the promise about) the Department of Environment and Natural Resources,” Agcaoili said.
“(Duterte) said there were many syndicates there and mining companies have paramilitaries so it’s better if he would take it on, clean up the syndicates and later turn it over,” he said.
“So, our nominee might be considered as undersecretary,” he added.
Agcaoili said the Left also did not mind that Duterte named former Justice Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III as labor chief even before they could submit their nominee for the Department of Labor and Employment.
“That’s his choice. It’s his prerogative to choose who should be in his Cabinet. And we have no objections to Bebot. He has proven himself to be a patriot and pro-labor,” Agcaoili said.
“We expect that Bebot will stand up and take up what President-elect Duterte said: that he is against contractualization,” he added.
Agcaoili said Duterte also wanted the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) cleaned up of scalawags.
“He is concerned with the NLRC because I think his experience, which is also the experience of unions, is that decisions by the local regional committees that are somewhat favorable to unions are reversed when they (are appealed) at the national (level),” Agcaoili said.
He said the appointments of Mariano and Taguiwalo would help in the “advancement” of the stalled peace process between Manila and the NDF.
“I think it would be contributory to the advancement of the peace negotiations because one of the demands of the revolutionary movement has always been the implementation of land reform,” Agcaoili said./rga
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