Laviña reacts to Left’s criticisms of 8-point economic agenda; Joma Sison says they’re open to dialogue
By: Karlos Manlupig
01:07 PM May 15th, 2016
DAVAO CITY — The spokesperson of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte fired shots against the “national higher organs” of the Left in the country for criticizing Duterte’s economic agenda.
“A mistake not corrected becomes an error. A mistake may not be intentional, but to commit the same could be fatal. Leftist groups have rejected the hands of friendship and cooperation by the incoming Duterte administration by mouthing their usual criticism of others but not undertaking their own criticism, self-criticism,” Peter Laviña said in a post in his Facebook account on Sunday morning.
Laviña also mentioned the “mistakes” made by the Left in the past elections, hinting that the mainstream Left in Manila allied with Duterte’s rival Grace Poe.
“They did it in 1985 and did it again in the 2016 election. They boycotted the election in 1986 and went with another candidate 30 years later. For groups that claim that they are patriotic, nationalist and anti-imperialist, many were aghast in their decision to go with someone who abandoned our country and once pledged allegiance to the US,” Laviña said.
“In their desire to push one of their national officials to be senator, they rush to a hasty decision, rejecting calls to wait for the maturing of the political situation before deciding. Having done these mistakes, they want to continue with their old ways of critiquing, critiquing, critiquing. I am truly sorry for these leftist groups which will be left out in the march of history with their dogma and belligerent styles and methods of work,” Laviña added.
Laviña said that efforts to “sustain gains even little by little here and there to advance the cause of the masses are better than none at all.”
“Here is an unsolicited advice to them – dialogue with the incoming government instead of mounting black propaganda to be heard,” Laviña remarked.
But National Democratic Front of the Philippines chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison said that the movement in the country has already committed to talk with the government after Duterte made reciprocal gestures.
“The National Democratic Front of the Philippines is already committed to dialogue with the Duterte government. Negotiations are needed precisely to discuss and work out the agreements on the economic, social and political reforms needed for the benefit of the people,” Sison, who is in exile in the Netherlands, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Sunday morning.
Sison disclosed that both the NDFP and the incoming government have started working together to jumpstart the stalled talks. The efforts towards a new round of peace negotiations will include a personal visit from Duterte.
“Representatives of the NDFP and the incoming government are already at work to prepare for the resumption of formal talks in the peace negotiations and before that possibly for a meeting between me and President-elect Duterte when he comes to Europe on the basis of our April 25 Skype conversation,” Sison said.
The top communist leader, who was also Duterte’s university teacher in Manila, commented that the militant group Bayan was not engaging in black propaganda as Laviña accused when it criticized the proposed economic agenda.
“Bayan has its own political and organizational integrity and independence and has the democratic right to express itself publicly on any matter that is priorly public, like the eight-point economic agenda announced by Mr. Dominguez. I do not think that Bayan is engaged in black propaganda. It has made critical remarks but it also makes constructive proposals,” Sison said.
Earlier, Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said in a statement that the proposed economic roadmap of the Duterte camp would worsen the conditions of ordinary people, most especially in the marginalized sectors.
Reyes said Duterte should end the neo-liberal economic policies of the Aquino regime by pursuing national industrialization, economic sovereignty and strengthening of the domestic economy; and also end the import-dependent, export-oriented, backward, pre-industrial economic set-up.
He said his group has started urging the presumptive President-elect to review and reverse existing and proposed public-private partnership projects, to pursue people-oriented infrastructure development that would help develop industry and agriculture, and to develop government-supported mass transport systems.
To pursue economic sovereignty and strengthen the domestic economy, he said, Duterte should abandon all plans for economic Charter change and instead review the business terms of big foreign mining companies, coal plants, large plantations and other enterprises that plunder the national patrimony and destroy the environment.
Reyes also said to truly develop the agricultural sector, the incoming Duterte administration should adopt and implement genuine land reform and various forms of collective farming with increased government support.
According to Sison, despite the criticism, the NDFP values and recognizes the members of Duterte’s camp who are open to proposals in the crafting of the incoming administration’s economic program.
“As far as the NDFP is concerned, we are pleased with those in the incoming Duterte government who say that they are ready to receive proposals and develop further what will eventually become the Duterte economic program. We look forward to discussions with President Duterte and his negotiators before and during formal talks what would best be integrated in a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms,” Sison said.
In the Hague Joint Declaration in 1992, both parties agreed to tackle substantive agendas, including human rights and international humanitarian law, socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, end of hostilities and disposition of forces.
In March 1998, both parties signed the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
The government and the NDF panels have already formulated their drafts for the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (Caser) but the process has not made any progress after the talks hit a snag.
The guerrilla insurgency in the country is considered as one of the longest running communist movements in Asia. SFM/rga