Ordinary Filipinos will heave a sigh of relief that the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte is living up to his campaign promise to listen to all sectors and make the common people feel the government’s presence.
In a historic meeting, President Duterte welcomed the leaders of peasant, youth, workers, and indigenous groups yesterday at the Osmena Room in Malacanan Palace on the same day as his inauguration. The meeting took place right before the first Cabinet meeting of the Duterte administration.
President Duterte earlier acceded to the request of the multi-sectoral group and placed them next to the scheduled reception for members of the Diplomatic Corps, to listen to their positions on issues relating to corruption and other topics affecting the marginalized sector.
During the recently concluded National Peoples’ Summit at University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, the group crafted the people’s program for change and the agenda for the first 100 days in the hope that Duterte will act on them.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Ayik Casilao and Sarah Ilago presented their recommendations which emanated from the summit, including agrarian reform, contractualization, implementation of the minimum wage law, and free education in all levels.
Their discussion with the President also touched on mining, peace talks, and other current issues. Duterte assured the group that only those mines that are environmentally compliant will be allowed to continue operating. He stressed his commitment in uplifting the lives of the Filipino people specifically the defenseless, hopeless, and helpless.
President Duterte promised that he will give land to the landless that include the farmers, saying he was told by Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano that there are six million hectares of land available across the country due to be distributed.
Regarding the peace process, the President is bent on signing an accord with the armed wing of the communist front, stressing that he can go to another country to sign a peace pact as part of his commitment to genuine change and lasting peace. PND (pa)