Why Duterte offered Cabinet posts to Reds
MANILA - A trust building measure. This is how a political analyst describes presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte's offer to appoint communist leaders to his Cabinet.
Ramon Casiple, Institute for Political and Electoral Reform executive director, said Duterte's offer could jumpstart stalled peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army, which has been waging a rebellion since 1968.
Casiple said peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA have failed because of distrust on both sides. Offering a Cabinet post to the communists breaks that pattern, he said.
"Ang usapin dito e tingnan natin iyung kanyang paraan kasi dati hindi umubra iyung mga dating paraan e. Dati, talagang distrust ang basis ng mga usapan. Wala talagang mangyayari," Casiple told radio dzMM.
"Kung talagang gusto nating taupsin iyan, isang napakahaba, 50 years na labanan, kailangan mung i-build iyung trust e," he added.
In a press conference in Davao City on Monday, Duterte said he offered to the CPP the Cabinet posts of agrarian reform, labor, social welfare and environment and natural resources.
"Ang ibibigay ko sa Communist Party of the Philippines, if they decide to join the government, 'yung DAR, DENR...Labor is the one, sabi nila pinaka-oppressed 'yan, so they are the most vigilant group in the Philippines about labor," Duterte said.
"So they will get it [DOLE] and DSWD, at marami pang iba. But those are the only departments I can concede to them, that four. Maganda na 'yan," he added.
LOOK: Duterte's Cabinet and then some
In the interview, Casiple said the programs covered by the four departments are "not crucial."
He said the four departments do not concern national defense or foreign affairs, but are instead primarily concerned with basic services.
Casiple argued that the nature of these departments would test if the CPP is capable of working with the President and the rest of the public.
"Mass services ito e. Ngayon kung kaya nila ibigay iyan sa ating mga manggagawa, magsasaka, sa mga sinalanta ng baha eh ba't hindi? Usapin iyan na patunayan nila na kaya nga nila na magtrabaho kasama ang rest of the people, lalo na iyung ating Presidente," he said.
Casiple added that the offer to the CPP reflects the character of Duterte as a man of action. "Kung kilala mo si presumptive President Duterte, action agad iyan. Hindi siya mahilig ng macro-macro... Desisyon agad iyan, saka na lang titingnan ang epekto."
But Casiple declined to comment if the CPP-NPA should first lay down arms before assuming office, saying that Duterte and the communists may have already entered such an agreement.
He also sees no problem if CPP founder Jose Maria Sison returns home from his exile in The Netherlands to lead the peace talks.
"Kung [gusto] niyang maging negosyador mismo siya, why not? Matatapos agad ang usapan. Kasi kung maraming dinadaanan pa, the message is lost along the way," he said.
Sison, a professor of Duterte in college, has been in exile in The Netherlands since 1987.
He has expressed his willingness to resume peace talks with the government if Duterte wins the presidency. He said returning to the Philippines is also an option under a Duterte administration.
WATCH: Duterte, Joma Sison chat online