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Link with Duterte 'not devoid of contradiction'-Bayan.

Amid its generally positive reception of the new administration, a militant group on Friday said its relationship with newly sworn-in President Rodrigo Duterte, who once called himself the first chief executive 'from the Left,' will not be devoid of contradictions.

Following a meeting with Duterte in Malacanang on Thursday, activist leader and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) chairperson Renato Reyes said militant groups will still hold protests in the next six years to make their advocacies heard and will not turn blind on their differences with the government.

'Ganito po yung relationship namin eh, meron hong (Our relationship comprises of a) cooperation and alliance with the Duterte administration and the basis of the pro-people, progressive and nationalist policies na pinapatupad niya (that he implements). Pero syempre po hindi po 'yun (But, of course, it is not) devoid of contradiction,' Reyes said over Radyo Inquirer 990AM.

'Syempre meron pa ring mga pagkakaiba (Naturally, we have our differences). Ang difference lang po ay hindi masyadong antagonistiko 'yung mga contradiction na 'yun. Pero ibig sabihin lang po nito, magra-rally pa rin po kami. Hindi pa rin po kami mawawala sa kalsada (What sets it apart is that those contradictions are not highly antagonistic. So this means we will still stage protests. We will still be seen on the streets),' he added.

Reyes said they even asked and secured Duterte's permission during their meeting if they can get near the Batasang Pambansa during his first State of the Nation Address.

'Sabi nya: 'Sige, sige lumapit kayo, walang problema. Sa Davao, malayang nakakapagrally yung mga grupo (He said, sure, no problem. In Davao, groups are free to rally).' He understands and he respects yung freedom of expression, the right to feasibly assemble. Kaya natutuwa rin kami kasi nga mananatili din naman kami sa kalsada, nagbabantay at bumabatikos dun sa tingin natin eh maling patakaran. So, abangan po natin, let's see sa darating na SONA kung magkatotoo 'yung kanyang mga nabanggit (So we are also happy because we shall remain rallying on the streets, watching over and criticizing what we deem as flawed policies. So, let's wait and see in the upcoming SONA if what he said will come true),' Reyes said.

In a surreal scene, activists who staged a rally at Mendiola set foot on the presidential palace on Thursday to meet with Duterte right after his inauguration as the country's 16th President.

Reyes thanked Duterte for taking the time to listen to them and for accepting their 15-point People's Agenda during their 'cordial' and 'very nice' meeting.

'Nagpapasalamat kami at nabigyan tayo ng ganung pagkakataon especially on the inauguration day of the President. Mineeting n'ya kami at tinanggap niya yung People's Agenda mula doon sa National People's Summit at tumanggap siya ng mga katanungan at nagpaliwanag sya ng mga stand niya sa mga isyu. So he really gave time and he listened,' Reyes said.

(We thank you for giving us that opportunity especially on the inauguration day of the President. He met with us and we accepted the People's Agenda from the People's Summit and he welcomed questions and explained his stand on issues. So he really gave time and listened.)

'On the whole, it was a very nice meeting. It was very cordial, at saka nakakataas ng kumpiyansa yung naging pag-uusap sa Pangulo (and it also raised our confidence that we were able to speak with the President) on that day of his inauguration,' he added.

Reyes said activists asked for pictures and selfies with the new President, and gave him a handmade bead necklace made by the Lumads.
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jul 1, 2016
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