Women’s group hails Mariano’s stand vs land conversion

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news national 2 pix 1 oct. 12 2016A NATIONAL federation of peasant women lauded Tuesday Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano for taking up the cudgel for the small farmers in his first 100 days of implementing the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Amihan chairperson, Zenaida Soriano, cited in particular Mr. Mariano’s initiative to seek the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte to issue an executive order, imposing a two-year moratorium on the conversion of agricultural land to other uses.

“One of the biggest challenges that female farmers face today is the wanton conversion of agricultural lands not only by the landowners but also by multi-national corporations,” Ms. Soriano said during Amihan’s 7th National Congress held on its 30th founding anniversary at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Gymnasium in Quezon City. news national 2 pix 2 oct. 12 2016Ms. Soriano stressed that women farmers have the same responsibility as their husband-farmers to turn the tide against those behind the conversion of vast farmlands, which greatly affects the livelihood of their families.

DAR Secretary Mariano announced in the said gathering that conversion orders, issued from the time the CARP was implemented in June 1988 up to the present, covered 222,548 hectares, while some 58,000 hectares were exempted from CARP coverage, about 50,000 hectares were found to be previously irrigated.

“I immediately ordered the hasty review of all conversion and exemption orders because the extent of the agricultural lands covered by these orders is mind-boggling,” Mr. Mariano said.

The DAR chief revealed that President Duterte has agreed in principle to issue an executive order, which is expected to be issued soon. “Hintayin na lang natin ang pagpapalabas ng nasabing kautusan sa malapit na hinaharap.”