Davao’s militant group welcomes Duterte’s presidential bid, challenges mayor to make a stand on APEC, genuine agrarian reform

Nov. 28, 2015

DAVAO CITY – Progressive groups here welcome Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to finally file his certificate of candidacy as president.

The COC for president was filed in Intramuros, Manila, a few minutes after Duterte withdrew his COC for mayor  and endorsed his daughter, former city mayor Sara Duterte, as his replacement at the Commission on Elections office here.

“We welcome Mayor Duterte’s filing of COC as president. We know him as a good leader in Davao,” Sheena Duazo, spokesperson of the umbrella-organization Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said.

“He has been with us on many issues, including US intervention and he consistently opposes US troops to hold exercises in Davao,” said Duazo.

In 2013, Duterte revealed the US government has expressed its interest to use the city’s old airport as a station for its drones and spy planes. But he said he refused, saying it will only make the city prone to more danger and threats.

Read related stories: Bishops, nuns back Duterte in slamming US drones in Davao

Duazo said they saw Duterte as a viable candidate who “has been consistent in supporting people’s issues.”

“Duterte’s running gives an option for the people specially that from what we have seen, most of the candidates who are running are from big political parties who are not different from this administration that the people abhors,” she said.

But Duterte admitted that he has his “dark sides” and reiterated his hard stance against drugs and criminalities.

“I have my dark sides, I have my faults. It’s up to the Filipinos to (decide),” he said.  He also warned drug lords to “go somewhere else.”

“If I make it, I would not tolerate (that). It’s either I deliver or I resign,” he said.

Duterte described his decision to run as president as “no turning back”.

“As what I have said, I have crossed the bridge of Rubicon, there’s no turning back, unless I die.I will not promise you heaven, but I will promise you a good life,” he said.

However, Duazo said they would want Duterte to be clear on his positions on genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization.

“These are the two programs that we want him to pursue should he win in the elections. These are key to national development and to achieve self-reliance,” said Duazo.

Duazo said they are likely to release a set of platforms which focuses on people’s issues and program. She said these platforms will be their basis on who are the candidates that they will be supporting.

“But based on the principle of Bayan, as a nationalist and pro-people organization, we will be looking at the candidates’ track record on his stand in people’s issues especially those which concerns the country’s national sovereignty and patrimony,” said Duazo.

Duazo said they will also challenge Duterte to take a different stand on the country’s participation in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and push for its junking.

“We want him to carry our banner against neo-liberal policies: liberalization, privatization and deregulation, because of globalization that only benefits developing countries,” she said.

Duazo also warned Duterte that the “ruling elite will not allow anyone to challenge the status quo.”

“With his intention to seek the highest position in the government, it is a great challenge for him to remain sensitive and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people,” she said.

“It will always be a challenge for Duterte to maintain his pro-people and nationalist stance amidst pressures from those who do not want genuine and significant change,” said Duazo.

Duazo said Duterte “must work together with the majority of our people who aspire to have a truly just and humane social order.” (davaotoday.com)

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