DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Farmers coming from various parts of Davao region mounted a protest rally here today to express their full support to Agrarian secretary Rafael Mariano ahead of the slated confirmation hearing on Wednesday, August 30.
Tuesday’s mass action was one of the massive actions led by farmers’ group nationwide to support the confirmation of the controversial DAR chief.
In Davao, hundreds of farmers under Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas in Davao region gathered along Roxas Avenue and marched going to San Pedro Street to urge the members of the Commission on Appointments to confirm Mariano as DAR chief.
Jerry Alborme, acting secretary-general of KMP-SMR, said that Mariano deserves to be confirmed as DAR chief because he is “a representative from the peasantry.”
“After being appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as DAR Secretary, Ka Paeng Mariano’s track record was historical and unprecedented for more than a year of service in the agency,” he added.
Farmers’ groups lauded Mariano after he was able to fulfill DAR’s mandate by implementing agrarian reforms programs that benefit the farmers across the country.
During his one year stint as DAR chief, Mariano made significant headway in terms of distributing lands to the farmers. He was also instrumental for the installation of the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs).
One concrete proof, according to Alborme, was the installation of University of Southern Mindanao (USM) reservation area in North Cotabato Province; the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, Inc. (MARBAI) in Tagum City, Davao del Norte; and Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac City, among others.
For the farmers, Mariano was a sort of “Messiah” but for the Lorenzos of Lapanday Foods Corporation (LFC), in the case of the MARBAI, he was accused of fanning the conflict which led to the filing of trumped-up charges against him and the opposition who are blocking his appointment at the CA.
“Ka Paeng’s advocacy and principles were unwavering. For decades, Ka Paeng has been at the forefront of the peasant movement and his untiring dedication for the plight of the farmers’ struggle for genuine agrarian reform,” Alborme said.
Meanwhile, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao said that Mariano’s confirmartion appointment is crucial to President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise of an inclusive governance and for fundamental reforms.
“If the CA rejects Ka Paeng, we could wave goodbye to the presiden’t pledge for an inclusive governance, and say hello again deplorably to a rule of big hacienderos, oligarchs and militarists,” Casilao said in a statement.
The militant lawmaker added that “Mariano’s leadership in the department led to its positive and speedy response to farmers’ grievances on agrarian cases, and instrumental to the inclusion of the genuine agrarian reform.” (davaotoday.com)