Secretary in the News

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October 10, 2016 66

DAR’s Mariano seeks to slash PARC Execom membership from 26…

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is seeking to reduce the number of Presidential Agrarian Reform Council-Executive Committee (PARC-Execom) members to fast-track the resolution of agrarian- reform cases. Read More..
Oct 03, 2016 69

DAR junks ‘lotto system’

AGRARIAN Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano on Friday stood pat on his ground to nullify the use of lottery draw to allocate plots to farmer-beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita Inc. owned by the family of
former President Benigno Aquino III in Tarlac province.
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Sep 29, 2016 75

Mariano vows to distribute Palawan’s Yulo King Ranch to…

AGRARIAN Reform Secretary Rafael V. Mariano vowed to distribute the controversial Yulo King Ranch (YKR) to landless farmers in Coron and Busuanga in Palawan. Read More..
Sep 28, 2016 57

DAR to help hasten land distribution of YKR lands

QUEZON CITY, Sept. 28 - Agrarian Secretary Rafael Mariano has ordered the DAR field operations and legal officials to coordinate with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to fast-track the process of transfering to the DAR the Yulo King… Read More..

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Apeco officials face charges for agri land conversion

manila bulletin blue logoOfficials of the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (Apeco) will be facing criminal charges for the alleged illegal conversion of a 2.5-hectare agricultural land in Aurora, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said Thursday. In a resolution dated July 27, 2016, DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano ordered the DAR Region 3, the Provincial Agrarian Reform Office, and the Task Force on Illegal Conversion to “immediately identify the entities or individuals who may be held criminally liable on the commission of the unlawful land use conversion and to cause for the criminal prosecution of the individuals identified.”

This stemmed from the complaints filed by Casiguran parish priest Jose Francisco Talaban and Vicente Convicto before the DAR on Mar. 9, 2013, which claimed that Apeco had illegally converted the 2.5-hectare agricultural land in Sitio Landing, Barangay Esteves, Casiguran, Aurora into a housing project and relocation program in partnership with the National Housing Authority (NHA).

The complainants said that the property was considered a prime agricultural land and is part of an existing agrarian reform community (ARC) which benefits farmers and fishermen in the town. The complaint said Apeco’s actions are also tantamount to threatening food security.

Mariano, in effect, also maintained the validity of the DAR orders dated Sept. 15, 2015 and Nov. 23, 2015 to issue a Cease and Desist Order preventing Apeco to alter or change the use of the property without a DAR conversion clearance.

Apeco is a P1-billion economic zone project created in 2009 by virtue of RA 10083, which expanded the establishment of former Aurora Special Economic Zone thru RA 9490.

NHA and Apeco, despite protests, argued that the said project is legal and property does not require conversion clearance as it is exempted from the coverage of agrarian reform program by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1472.

Mariano, meanwhile, recounted that former DOJ Secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima in a DOJ opinion dated August 5, 2015 said the amended RA 9490 does not exempt lands covered by Apeco from the coverage of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) or RA 6657.

He said the DAR Secretary has the authority in the conversion of all agricultural lands not yet re-classified as industrial, commercial or residential uses upon the passage of CARL.