That was unexpected. The powerful Commission on Appointments suspended the confirmation of the ad interim appointment of DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano to September 5, Tuesday.
Mariano was appointed by the President through the nomination by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as part of the peace negotiations with the Duterte administration. He said that the move to suspend his confirmation does not mean the agency’s mandate to defend and assert the rights of farmers shall stop. “Our work shall continue,” Mariano declared.
“Nais ko pong magpasalamat sapagkat bagamat hindi pa tapos ang confirmation hearings, at habang wala pa pong resulta, nagsilbi pong lugar ang pagdinig na ito upang malakas nating maitambol sa publiko hindi lamang ang pangangailangan para sa isang bagong batas para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa, kundi ang tunay na pangangailangan para sa reporma sa lupa bilang susing kawing sa pagkamit ng kapayapaan at kasaganahan sa bansa,” he said during a press briefing in the Senate.
Since his take over as DAR secretary, Mariano has made a series of bold moves that echoes the sentiments of President Rodrigo Duterte against landlord-oligarchs.
In July 2016, Mariano invalidated what was called ‘tambiolo agraryo’ in Hacienda Luisita prompting the agency to distribute lands among its farmer-tenants that have been deprived of lands that should have been distributed to them by virtue of land reform.
Mariano said his office was “rectifying the policy mistakes of the old DAR to begin the process of implementing genuine agrarian reform in the first 100 days of the Duterte administration.”
In September of the same year, Mariano initiated the convening of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) after a 10-year hiatus in the previous administration’s priority programs. The First PARC meeting resulted in the proposal for a two-year land moratorium in order for DAR to come up with a national baseline data that would measure the remaining agricultural lands in the country.
Mariano also installed 159 members of the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association Inc. (MARBAI) as rightful owners of the 145-hectare San Isidro (Sanid) farm area inside the former Hijo Plantation in Tagum City last May.
Recently, Mariano signed Administrative Order 05, series of 2017 allowing DAR to continue with the installation of farmers in the awarded lands despite ongoing protest and cases.
“Patuloy pong hinihiling ng inyong lingkod sa Kongreso na gamitin ang kanilang kapangyarihan hindi upang masalaula ang karapatan at kapakanan ng karaniwang magsasaka, ngunit upang mapabuti ang kanilang buhay. Tuloy ang laban!” Mariano said.
Mariano is a former Anakpawis Partylist representative for 3 consecutive terms. He was chairman of the Kilusang Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (KMP), a national organization with membership of over a total of 1.3 million rural people with 65 provincial chapters and 15 regional chapters nationwide.
#AgrarianReform #DAR4Farmers #Land4Farmers #PartnerForChange