May 11, 2017
Renato M. Reyes, Jr. BAYAN secretary general
If having progressives in the cabinet is good for the ongoing peace negotiations, the recent of appointments ex-military officials is seen to have a negative effect on the talks.
“President Duterte has been surrounding himself with retired generals whom he has appointed to various cabinet posts. This increases the rightist-militarist pull within the cabinet. This will likely have a negative effect on the ongoing peace talks. It will make negotiations that much harder,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
There are are least three ex-generals in the cabinet: Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and incoming DILG secretary Eduardo Año. Another general, former AFP Chief of Staff Ricardo Visaya, was appointed to the irrigation administration.
“The generals will likely work in tandem with the conservatives and neoliberals and overwhelm whatever progressive trends there is left in the Duterte administration. They are often in favor of the status quo. They are known defenders of the ruling system. For example, they will likely continue to oppose the release of all political prisoners even if this is a solemn obligation of the GRP under the CARHRIHL. If the regime cannot honor the human rights pact, how will it honor the agreement on socio-economic reforms? How will it deal with the terms of a bilateral ceasefire agreement?” Reyes asked.
“The continued detention of political prisoners is a gross violation of the CARHRIHL. It prejudices the peace talks. But the militarists do not want the talks to advance. They have tried to derail it from Day 1. In this scenario, Duterte is his own worst enemy. His contradicting positions undermine his regime and whatever good he sets out to do,” Reyes said.
As the Duterte government approaches its first year in office, Bayan calls on the people “to intensify the struggle for change, for urgent socio-economic and political reforms, and against more reactionary and anti-people policies.”###