• Peace with Reds likely, says former lawmaker

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    LEFTISTS have no qualms about working with former military generals in the incoming Cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte who, according to a former lawmaker who was reportedly being eyed for a top government position, seems serious in ending the decades-old armed struggle.

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    In an interview with The Manila Times on Monday, former Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño said Duterte’s plans for peace are very promising, saying they are optimistic about the possibility of resolving root causes of the decades-old communist insurgency.

    “The military is competent in some areas. Although our only reservation is that those who would be appointed to any position must have an advocacy. Other than that, we are comfortable working with them if ever,” the former lawmaker said.

    But Casiño said he is yet to receive official word from anybody about his supposed nomination to head a department in the Duterte administration, probably the Environment and Natural Resources portfolio.

    “Everything is still up in the air. Accepting it or not depends on the tasks at hand. It will be very premature to speculate, especially since I am not privy to the [selection]process,” he explained.

    Casiño served in the House of Representatives from 2007 to 2013 as Bayan Muna representative.

    Once appointed, he said he will not abandon his principles and advocacies.

    He was one of the 10 nominees of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) for the four Cabinet positions reserved by Duterte for four departments — Agrarian Reform, Environment and Natural Resources, Social Welfare and Labor.

    A shortlist supposedly also includes former University of the Philippines professor Judy Taguiwalo and former Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano.

    Meanwhile, Casiño said the peace process will most likely resume with the expected homecoming of Jose Ma. Sison, allegedly founder of the “reestablished” CPP, who seems to show sincerity in pursuing the peace negotiations.

    “That is very welcome. But what we are most excited about are the prospects of resuming the peace talks and the possibility of resolving the armed conflict,” he pointed out.

    “Ayaw na natin ng gulo [We don’t like to fight anymore]” Casino said.

    In a separate interview with The Manila Times, former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno is inclined to accept his re-appointment to the position.

    “I’ll see tomorrow. He will be the one to announce my appointment. That’s protocol. Let’s just wait,” Diokno, a former UP economics professor said in a text message.

    Diokno had been appointed to the Budget department in the past and remains to be one of the most respected figures when it comes to government budgeting processes. He was a critic of the Disbursement Acceleration Program of the present government.

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    1 Comment

    1. Juan T. Delacruz on

      The opportunity for UNITY can now be sincerely given to the REDS. However, the government should maintain its position that there “Shall only be one AFP and one PNP throughout the Philippines and the existence of any armed group(s) is/are illegal and will be seriously dealt with”. Duterte should make sure that the Philippine government “shall not be in a disadvantaged position” when negotiating with the Reds or to JoMa Sison and its representatives.