JOSE Maria Sison expressed alarm the Rodrigo Duterte government may find it hard to implement socio- economic reforms if the remaining “good appointees” in the cabinet fail to get the nod from the Commission on Appointments (CA).
Reacting anew to the rejection of former environment and natural resources secretary Gina Lopez last week, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison said they have begun to doubt whether Duterte will be able to push legislation that will enable the implementation of the prospective Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) they are currently negotiating with the Duterte-led Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).
“If (Agrarian Reform secretary Rafael) Ka Paeng Mariano and (Social Work and Development secretary) Judy Taguiwalo are rejected by the CA, their rejection will be further proof that Congress will also reject the social and economic reforms agreed upon through CASER and will perpetuate the conditions for the civil war in the Philippines,” Sison warned.
The Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Social Work and Development, Department of Environment and Natural Resources are the GRP agencies expected to implement the prospective agrarian reform, environmental protection and social services agreements currently being discussed by the NDFP and the GRP in their ongoing formal peace negotiations.
On the other hand, Sison said if the CA confirms Mariano and Taguiwalo, it will have a positive and favorable effect on the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.
“It will raise hopes that Congress will make the laws to carry out the obligations of the GRP in CASER,” he said.
Like Lopez, NDFP nominees to the Duterte cabinet Mariano and Taguiwalo have performed “excellently,” Sison said.
“They deserve the public acclaim that they have received. They have proven themselves to be highly qualified, hard working, effective and honest public servants,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sison scored Senator Panfilo Lacson’s statement over radio station dzBB last Sunday that CA members were afraid the New People’s Army (NPA) might kill them if they reject Mariano and Taguiwalo.
“There were some members who expressed the possibility that they might be ambushed if they returned to their provinces because they openly rejected Secretary Taguiwalo,” an Inquirer.net report quoted Lacson to have said.
Lacson said this was the reason the 24 CA members decided on secret balloting.
But the Inquirer report pointed out that the secret balloting rule was first adopted two months ago when the CA was deliberation on former foreign affairs secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr.
“The statement of Lacson is uncalled for. The NPA has never made any physical threat to the CA,” Sison said.
“What the CA should be concerned about is the public opprobrium for rejecting the good appointees of Duterte,” he added. # (Report and photo by Raymund B. Villanueva)