By SHERWIN DE VERA
BAGUIO CITY — The last of Duterte administration’s progressives resigned from the cabinet on August 20, citing the termination of the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as the primary reason.
National Anti-Poverty Commission lead convener Liza Maza said the termination of the peace negotiations killed all her hope for meaningful socio-economic and political reforms that can end poverty and armed conflict in the country.
She emphasized that despite the dismissal of the fabricated double murder charges against her, the incident has taken toll on her work in the agency.
“I realized that similar attacks by anti-reform, rightist, and militarist forces in our society will continue to undermine my leadership of this agency. As such, I simply can no longer work under these circumstances,” Maza explained.
The trumped-up charge was lodged against her and fellow former Makabayang bloc solons Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis, and Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna.
Under her leadership, NAPC published the “Reforming Philippine Anti-Poverty Policy”, a 100-page roadmap that proposes comprehensive approach to eradicate poverty and social conflict.
Other highlights of her stint in the office are 283 policies and programs recommendations, 17 prototype projects conceptualized and implemented, 1648 consultative and convergence platforms, 253 commitments secured for the enhancement of bureaucratic routines, 3 policy issues resolved in En Banc level and 10,360 persons trained in various capacity building activities.
Under her watch, NAPC implemented several projects in Ilocos region. Notable are the provincial and regional fisherfolk consultations in November 2017 and facilitation of flood control projects in Quirino, Ilocos Sur.
“Genuine change cannot happen when the old forces of fascism and corruption, and the defenders of the elite and foreign interests are consolidating their position in the government,” Maza said.
She added the only way to ensure that genuine change will happen is “to resume fighting from among the masses.”
Bagong Alyansang Makabyan (Bayan) expressed their support to Maza’s resignation noting it “underscores the urgent need to resume peace talks to address many of the problems that cause poverty among our people.”
Renato Reyes, secretary general of the group, also responded to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s question why she related her leaving the cabinet with the termination of the peace talks.
“Liza was recommended by the NDF to the post as part of the confidence building measures in the peace talks. Liza accepted the post in the belief that she can implement reforms in line with agreements being negotiated in the talks,” he said.
The NDFP endorsed Maza, along with Judy Taguiwalo and Rafael Mariano to the Duterte cabinet. Taguiwalo took leadership of the Department of Social Welfare and Development while Mariano headed the Department of Agrarian Reform. The president did not reappoint the two after the Commission on Appointments rejected them.#nordis.net