THE National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) endorsed the confirmation of three Rodrigo Duterte cabinet secretaries a few days before their final Commission on Appointments (CA) hearing by Congress.
In a statement, NDFP chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili said they look forward to continue working with the three officials in the framework of peace negotiations and achieving meaningful reforms to benefit the Filipino people.
“The (NDFP) Negotiating Panel views in very positive terms the presence of DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform) Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano, DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) Secretary Gina Lopez in the Duterte cabinet,” Agcaoili said.
“Their inclusion bodes well for the entire peace process as they would be in a position to help push much-needed socio-economic reforms,” he added.
Mariano and Taguiwalo were NDFP nominees to the Duterte cabinet.
Mariano, Taguiwalo and Lopez have all been previously bypassed by the CA and will get their final chance at confirmation at the Senate on May 3, Wednesday.
The NDFP said Mariano and Taguiwalo will play an important role in implementing a program of free land distribution for poor peasants and in implementing expanded social services for the people, respectively.
Lopez on the other hand has earned the underground group’s admiration for her strong stance against destructive mining.
She also recently expressed willingness to work with the New People’s Army in protecting the environment, generating eco-friendly livelihood in mining affected areas and attending the formal peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).
“They will no doubt be helpful in implementing a Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) that may be agreed upon by the GRP and NDFP,” Agcaoili said of the three.
The NDFP likewise warned the officials’ removal from office “by reactionary interests” will run counter to the people’s long-standing desire for reforms in government.
Meanwhile, activist groups launched a social media campaign since yesterday calling for a rally at the Senate on May 3 in support of the three secretaries.
“There is an urgent need to show broad support for the progressives in the Duterte cabinet and thwart plans by the CA to confirm only those who wish to uphold “business as usual” politics. It is not every day that we have cabinet officials who truly work for the interests of the people and defy well-entrenched elite interests,” the online appeal said.
“Let us amplify the call to confirm Judy, Ka Paeng and Gina. Join us also in the mobilization and gallery trooping on May 3, 9am at the Senate,” it added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)