June 28, 2016
In front of around 130 farmer beneficiaries and agrarian reform advocates from various provinces, incoming Agrarian Reform Secretary, Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano recently presented a list of what should be expected from his agency under the new Duterte administration during a national conference on agrarian reform held at the Claretian Seminary, Quezon City.
“Sa bagong administrasyon, lahat ng mga magiging desisyon ng DAR ay papabor sa mga magsasaka,” Mariano stated which prompted a loud applause from the participants.
The conference with the theme: Protecting Farmers’ Land Tenure and Ownership, aims to explore the prospects of maximizing the opportunities and addressing the challenges in the incoming administration.
An open forum was held after Ka Paeng’s presentation. Various issues were raised by the participants, which the new DAR secretary addressed. During the dialogue Mariano asked for the ARBs to be firm in protecting their acquired lands despite the various forms of resistance and obstructions employed against the farmer beneficiaries.
“Kailangan nating siguraduhin na mananatiling nakatapak ang mga paa ng mga magsasaka sa sarili nilang lupa,” Mariano emphasized. “Kahit ano pang mga petition ang ibato sa inyo, ang mahalaga ay nakaposisyon na kayo.”
“Pagtutulungan natin yan (na tapusin ang mga problema natin sa pagpapatupad ng repormang pang-agraryo),” Mariano answered when a farmer from Negros Occidental directly asked for Mariano’s help in ending the land-related violence in their areas.
Mariano also said that he will be visiting provinces that are problematic when it comes to land rights. Priority areas include Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Leyte, Isabela, Masbate, Iloilo, Sultan Kudarat, and South Cotabato.
Mariano also pointed out that under his leadership, the land acquisition and distribution processes for lands already with Notices of Coverage and those lands with pending cases will proceed as mandated under Sec.30 of RA9700 or CARPER.