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Militants present 15-point program for Duterte’s first 100 days

/ 03:28 PM June 29, 2016

Leaders and members of militant organizations converged on Wednesday at University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman to present a 15-point program which encapsulate their demands for President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.

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The said program, also known as the People’s Agenda for Change, was presented to incoming Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano and incoming Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

READ: Bayan to hold summit before pro-Duterte rally on Inauguration Day

Also present to receive the agenda from militants are lawmakers from the left-leaning Makabayan coalition and representatives of Senators Grace Poe, Francis Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano.

The People’s Agenda is divided into five topics: economic development, social policy, peace and human rights, governance and democracy and foreign policy and sovereignty.

In the economic field, the People’s Agenda urges Duterte to implement national industrialization of strategic industries and to reorient the economy towards domestic needs and development.

The social policy recommendations of the People’s Agenda include budget increases for the education and health sectors, enactment of pension hike for Social Security System (SSS) pensioners, improved services for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), increased minimum broadband speed to at least 1.5 Mbps and the removal of the data cap for internet users.

Proposals to promote peace and human rights zeroed in on the resumption of peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the cessation of militarization in indigenous communities.

In terms of governance, the People’s Agenda backed the government’s anti-corruption drive and proposed the abolition of the pork barrel system. Accountability for the supposed irregularities that transpired during the administration of outgoing President Benigno Aquino III was also demanded.

Lastly, the foreign policy recommendations incorporated in the agenda include the adoption of a truly independent foreign policy and the rejection of the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

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In his speech, Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate said that the People’s Agenda is a result of the clamor of Filipinos for genuine change.

He also extolled Duterte for extending a hand of peace to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

“Mga kasama, mga kauban, pinakamahalaga ang pakikipag-mabutihan ni Pangulong Digong sa kaliwa dahil sa malalim na pag-unawa niya sa inhustisya at di-makatarungang sistema na nagbubunga ng militante at armadong paglaban ng mamamayan dito man sa kasiyudaran at sa dayuhan.”

(My comrades, the most important is President Digong’s [Duterte’s nickname] negotiations with the Left due to his in-depth understanding of the injustice and unjust system causing the militants and citizens armed fight in the city and in foreign land.)

“Kung gayon, sa pagkakaroon ng presidente ng pagkakaibigan at bukas na progresibong kilusan, nagbubukas ang pagkakataon sa atin para ihain ang makabayan at demokratikong programa ng mamamayan. Kung magpapatuloy ang positibong takbo ng mga pangyayari at patuloy na mangingibabaw ang progresibong katangian ni Digong, maraming mga tagumpay na maaring makamit ang ating mga mamamayan,” Zarate said.

(With the President’s good relations and openness to progressive movement, it gives us the opportunity to present the nationalistic and democratic program of the citizens. If the positive flow of events would continue and Digong’s progressive trait would prevail, our citizens would achieve success.)

Also present in the program were the celebrity couple Aiza Seguerra and Liza Diño.

Seguerra, a supporter of the firebrand President, performed an original song which calls for change.

The People’s Agenda, according to Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr., is a result of a number of consultations with various groups.

In closing Wednesday’s program, Reyes said that Filipinos should now be vigilant if the incoming Duterte administration will stick to the People’s Agenda.

“This is not just a one-day affair. The People’s Agenda will be crucial to the discussions and mobilizations on June 30 and beyond, including the upcoming State of the Nation Address of the President. We will rally around the People’s Agenda as we encourage the new administration to walk the extra mile for genuine change and a just peace,” Reyes said.

The militants will stage a rally coinciding with Duterte’s inauguration on Thursday to support his pro-people pronouncements. Paul Xavier Jaehwa Bernardo, INQUIRER.net trainee/RAM

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TAGS: inauguration, People's Agenda for Change, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, University of the Philippines, UP Diliman
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