- President-elect Rodrigo Duterte says mixing military men and Leftists is part of his plan to unify the country
- Duterte emphasized he wants an end to armed conflict because the Philippines already “suffered so much”
- He also wants to include Moro rebels in his unity plan
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte explained his decision to let key personalities from the historically rival groups of the military establishment and activists from the Left, saying that it is part of his plan to unify the country.
Duterte has picked retired officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and nominees from the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to come together and join in his administration as part of the Cabinet.
The President-elect said that despite criticisms, especially from the military, he decided to pursue this unprecedented set-up of mixing ideologically differing groups in his Cabinet as a step in ending the armed conflict that has made the country “suffer so much.”
“I know that it is not new if I get criticisms especially mixing up the right and the left. But this country has suffered so much. [There as some in the] military who are vehemently against it. I asked them, ‘When should we stop? When is the right [time] to correct?’” Duterte told GMA News in a mix of English and Filipino.
The CPP, through its political arm the National Democratic Front, submitted a list of nominees that included progressive leaders Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano, who was named Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Uniiversity of the Philippines (UP) professor Judy Taguiwalo, who was tasked to head the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The first President to come from Mindanao says he is also including Moro rebel groups such as the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, to be part of his unity plan.
“How do we solve this problem? We are here. They are here. I have to look for a way of doing it. Otherwise, we [will pass] to the next generation the fighting. Kawawa ang bayan natin. [Our country will suffer.] And the sad part is that we are all Filipinos,” he said.
Duterte also emphasized the need to stop the armed conflict and to prevent the “breakage” of the country.
“Let us find a way of stopping all these wars and come up with a nation that is only one. I will not agree to any breakage of this country,” he said.