Red nominees not cadres—NDF | Inquirer News

Red nominees not cadres—NDF

By: - Correspondent / @kmanlupigINQ
/ 05:50 AM May 28, 2016

DAVAO CITY—The nominees submitted by the National Democratic Front (NDF) to presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet are known to be progressives but are not necessarily members of the revolutionary movement, the spokesperson of the NDF’s peace panel said Friday.

“The nominees submitted by the NDF are not necessarily members of the revolutionary movement (the NDF, the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army) but individuals who are known to be pro-poor and pro-people in their stand and viewpoint, experts in the field where they  were nominated in, and of proven integrity,”  Fidel Agcaoili told the  Inquirer.

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Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate was reportedly nominated  as environment secretary; former Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano to  the agrarian reform portfolio; University of the Philippines professor and  development worker Judy Taguiwalo as social welfare secretary;  and Silvestre Bello III as labor secretary. Zarate, however, has reportedly begged off in favor of former Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño.

“This clarification is being issued to set the record straight and avoid misunderstanding,” Agcaoili said.

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The military and anticommunist organizations have relentlessly tagged progressive leaders, activists and caused-oriented groups as legal fronts of the CPP. This labeling had been repeatedly denied by those in the progressive movement.

Duterte has offered four Cabinet positions to the Left, but exiled communist leader Jose Maria “Joma” Sison had declined to take any Cabinet post and instead suggested that individuals from progressive groups fill in the positions.

The NDF has drawn a list of 10 nominees from which Duterte can pick his prospective Cabinet members.

Duterte, who declined to identify the NDF nominees, said the list was “very impressive.”

Agcaoili also corrected impressions that Bello was nominated by the NDF, saying he was personally selected by Duterte.

“Bello was not nominated by the NDF; that he was appointed by President-elect Duterte even before we submitted our list; and that we raised no objections considering that Bebot is a known patriot and has a  track record of holding progressive views and positions,” Agcaoili said.

Bello was also named by Duterte as chief negotiator in the future peace talks with the NDF, a position he also help in the past.

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Duterte said he was open to offering more positions to top communist leaders if the peace process would make progress.

“If we can talk smoothly, and Joma will come home in July, I am ready to give all leaders positions,” Duterte said.

Historic act

Leftist leaders on Saturday welcomed Duterte’s offer for them to join the Cabinet.

In a post on Facebook, Taguiwalo said she was “honored” to be nominated to the position.

“That an incoming president of the Philippines is extending his hand to the Left and inviting the latter to be part of government is a historic act. I am happy to be part of this event even as a nominee,” she said.

Reached online, Taguiwalo, who was on her way back to the Philippines from a trip overseas, said he had yet to personally speak to Duterte.  She has, however, visited several women’s projects in Davao City when she headed the UP Center for Women’s Studies.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) also welcomed the nomination of its chair Rafael Mariano to the Department of Agrarian Reform.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares also lauded Duterte’s inclusive stance toward the Left, saying he had never seen an incoming leader reach out to the sector as the Davao mayor had.

“He’s the first president to have the guts to seriously embark on a genuine peace process,” Colmenares told the Inquirer when reached by phone.   With a report by Tarra Quismundo

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TAGS: communist, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), Fidel Agcaoli, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), NDF, New People’s Army, Red Cadres, Red nominees, Rodrigo Duterte
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