BANILAD, CEBU CITY, Jan. 11—Agrarian Secretary Rafael ‘Ka Paeng’ Mariano stated this at the ongoing conference for its third level officials to craft the department’s strategic plans and directions for 2017 to 2022.Mariano is here for the conference entitled “Harmonization and Unification for a Common Strategic Direction,” which endeavors to respond to changes in the DAR’s direction in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and the introduction of the genuine agrarian reform program (GAR) that he is pushing for implementation.
Mariano said foremost in his policy directive for the department is to protect farmers’ rights and their welfare. “I believe that if this directive is promoted and strictly enforced, other thrusts of the departments such as farmers’ security of tenure, provision of support services, and others, the rest would follow suit.”
Together with the new officials, Mariano explained to the bureaucracy his thrusts and policy directives for the department. He also presented the current agrarian situation to the department officials. He said the country, after so many years, is still practicing a semi-feudal agriculture.
“Under my watch, the department would do its best to fulfill its mandate of providing land to the landless tillers,” said Mariano.
Mariano added that land-grabbing, violation of farmers’ rights, rural poverty, illegal land-use conversion, and agri-trade liberalization are just some of the challenges the department needs to address to uplift the farmers’ economic lives.
“This conference’ objective is to come up with strategic plans to address these challenges. We will formulate a solid groundwork which will be cascaded to all regional and provincial officials for implementation,” Mariano explained.
The planning conference is being held at the Montebello Villa Hotel on Jan. 9-13, 2017. (DAR)