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Liza Maza resigns as NAPC chair

National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) chairperson Liza Maza on Monday announced her resignation from her post.

"My resignation is irrevocable. Kakapadala ko pa lang," Maza said at a press conference in Quezon City.

Maza cited the government's decision to terminate the peace talks with communist rebels as among the reasons for her resignation.



"Kinitil nito ang natitira kong pag-asa na magbubunga ang usapang pangkapayapaan sa makabuluhang repormang sosyo-ekonomiko at pulitikal na siyang magwawakas sa laganap na kahirapan, at digmaan sa ating bansa," Maza said in a statement.

"Ito ay tanda ng ganap nang pamamayani ng kontra-reporma, kontra-mahihirap at militaristang kaisipan at mga patakaran sa administrasyong ito, she added.

Maza believes the peace negotiations were a way to enact social, economic, and political reforms that will eradicate poverty in the country.

“I hope the President will find it in his heart to heed the call of the people to make substantial changes," she said.

The other reason for her resignation is the return of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the Marcos family to the forefront of politics.



"Ako ay lubhang nababahala, at sa tingin ko hindi talaga magkakaroon ng puwang ang anumang pagbabago kung ang luma ay ibinabalik," Maza said.

The return of "old forces of facism and corruption, and the defenders of the elite and foreign interests" consolidating in government, she asserted, would bar any form of genuine change from happening.

"Sabi nga ni Faulkner, the past is never dead. Hindi namatay 'yung dati. Sila ay buhay na buhay ngayon. Kaya't sa ganyan na sitwasyon, malabo at palagay ko hindi natin makakamtan 'yung pagbabago na kinakailangan ng ating bayan," Maza said.

Her resignation, she said, will not be the end of her campaigning for genuine agrarian reform, nationwide industrialization, and meaningful economic change to end poverty.

"I have found it best to resume fighting from among the masses for this genuine change, which, as ever, has ever, the only real way to make sure that it will happen," Maza stated.

In Malacañang, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque thanked Maza for her stint in the Duterte administration but took exception to one of the reasons she cited in her resignation.

Roque said the peace negotiations will continue subject to the conditions set by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Maza announced her resignation weeks after a court in Nueva Ecija ordered her arrest and that of three other left-leaning former lawmakers for alleged murder.

Aside from Maza, also ordered arrested by the Palayan, Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court were former Anakpawis Representative and former Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, and former Bayan Muna Representatives Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño.

She went on leave as lead convenor of NAPC after learning that the court issued a warrant of arrest on July 11 against them.

The court has since junked the murder charges and lifted the arrest warrant issued against the four.

Maza said she is still supposedly the target of harassment from militant forces and remains under threat from the Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA).

A week ago, Maza and three other former party-list lawmakers and activists who also faced allegedly "trumped-up charges" called for the abolition of IACLA.

"Nandyan pa rin naman yung mga pwersang militarista at nandyan pa rin naman 'yung IACLA na nagbagong bihis ng IALAG. Ito 'yung naggagawa ng mga fabricated cases," Maza said.

Human rights watchdog Karapatan called IACLA a "redux" of the Arroyo-established Inter-agency Legal Affairs Group (IALAG), which it said was part of systematizing political persecution.

It was under the "watch of the President" that IACLA revived the cases against activists such as herself, Maza noted.

For there to be true refom, there has to be changes to the structure of the government, including the abolishment of IALAG, she said.

"Ang gusto kong maipaabot ngayon, maging vigilant du'n sa mga policies. Kung nandyan ang policy of repression and political repression, dapat tutulan po natin ito," she said.

"Dapat makita natin na itong mga luma, nandito pa. Ito po 'yung aking hindi sinasang-ayunan. Ito po 'yung aking issue na malaki sa panahon ngayon," Maza continued. —KBK/RSJ/KG, GMA News

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