LEFTIST lawmakers on Thursday slammed “hawkish and ultra-rightist” Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and returning Senator Panfilo Lacson Jr. for atttempting to derail the resumption of the stalled peace talks with the communist National Democratic Front via red-scare tactics.
“As in the past, and this early, the antiquated cold-war, red-scare tactic is once again being resurrected as [a] bogey to frustrate the resumption of the peace talks with the NDF, the release of political prisoners and the possible appointments of left personalities in the Cabinet of President-elect [Rodrigo] Duterte,” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said.
“These ultra-rightist and hawkish elements are desperate and despicable considering the openness and optimism of both the Duterte camp and the NDF to immediately return to the negotiating table, discuss and seek solutions to the root causes of the nearly five decade old armed rebellion in our country,” he added.
Zarate and his fellow Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares called on the people to actively push for the immediate resumption of the stalled peace talks between the incoming administration Duterte and the NDF “in response to the resistance of ultra-rightist elements represented by Senators Antonio Trillanes and Panfilo Lacson and individuals identified with social democratic groups.”
Colmenares accused Trillanes and Lacson of sowing paranoia through their red-scare tactics.
“The senators who are airing these supposed fears should instead throw their support for the peace talks and stop sowing paranoia,” Colmenares said.
The progressive solons called on all “patriotic and peace-loving Filipinos to rally behind this fresh wind of finding a political settlement and lasting peace in our country.”
“Specifically, we call on the members of the Church, the academe, people’s organizations and non-government organizations to be in the forefront of this peace endeavor,” the two lawmakers said in a joint statement.
The Bayan Muna solons also called on this “peace constituency” to be on guard against the efforts by hawkish and fascist elements to undermine, derail and even sabotage the resumption and conduct of peace process under the new dispensation.
“They did it before, there is big possibility that they will do it again now. Thus, it is important that all the peace stakeholders should be actively engaged in this renewed peace initiatives,” Zarate said.
But beneficiaries of the government dole expressed alarm at the possibility that communist leaders would be appointed to the Department of Social Welfare and Development
At a news conference, Aleta Tolentino, lawyer of the Parent Leaders composed of over 1,000 4Ps recipients in Metro Manila alone, said while they welcome presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte fs eight-point economic agenda, an appointment of a communist as DSWD secretary is disturbing.
“The [dole] recipients reject such appointment because CPP, in the past, did not support the program,” she told The Standard.
“CCP believes the program is a wasteful program, and that it perpetuates the poverty of people.”
Quoting CCP, she said 4Ps is a “counter-insurgency” program of the government that would just drive away the poorest of the poor to join rebel groups.
“How can they recruit from the poor if there is a program that helps them improve their lives and if beneficiaries have the money to send their children to school?” she said. “That way, it would be harder for them to recruit members.”
The program has empowered many poor families and have built back their confidence, she said.
“Some of them are crying when they have learned about the looming appointment of a CPP member,” Tolentino said.
“CCP must see the beauty of 4Ps,” she added.
The members of the Parent Leaders from Caloocan City, Makati City, San Juan City, Marikina City, Quezon City and Pasig City said DSWD through its 4Ps have reduced poverty of close to two million families.
“Please hear those in the marginalized sector,” Tolentino appealed to Duterte.
Also, at another forum, Romeo Dongito, executive director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation Inc., said Duterte must make good on his promise to end hunger, wipe out poverty, create sustainable livelihood programs, and empower fishermen and farmers.
“We have a lot of things yet to do to achieve food and nutrition security. The next government should look into a wide range of issues from agriculture to trade, from infrastructure to financing, and from health-care to clean water and sanitation,” he said.
In 2015 based on the Social Weather Stations, 13.4 percent of Filipinos said they have been experiencing hunger.
Citing the report of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Dongito said while 33 in 100 children aged below five are stunted or too short for their age and seven in 100 children of the same age bracket are wasted or too thin for their height.
One out of 10 Filipino adults suffer from chronic energy deficiency, according to a 2013 National Nutrition Survey.
“President-elect Duterte should deliver on his promise of eradicating poverty, especially in the rural areas, by empowering small farmers and fisherfolk,” Dongeto said.