Farmers: Landlords oust Mariano from post

Sep. 07, 2017

PRO-LANDLORD. Farmers storm the gate of the Senate in Pasay City for a noise barrage after the powerful Commission on Appointment rejected the appointment of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano on Wednesday, Sept. 6. (Alex D. Lopez/

MANILA, Philippines – For ​progressive ​farmers ​organizations in the country, the rejection of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano by the powerful Commission ​on Appointments ​only shows that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is leaning towards the landlords and big businesses that control vast tracts of lands for plantations.

Pedro Arnado, chairperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Southern Mindanao Region said landlords and owners of big corporations have been “working hard” to oust Mariano from his post in the Duterte administration.

“The resolutions submitted by the Regional Peace and Order Council and Regional Development Council in Davao Region opposing to the appointment of Mariano also affected the decision of the CA,” said Arnado.

Arnado and hundreds of farmers from various parts of the country are here in Manila to join this year’s Lakbayan of National Minorities. The farmers protested yesterday in front of the Senate following Mariano’s rejection.

The CA ended its three-day grilling and discussion over the appointment of Mariano​, as 13 of its members, m​any ​coming from the Lower House, reject​ed​ ​his ​appointment as ​Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary.

Davao Today has not yet obtained the list of CA members who voted for and against the appointment of Mariano as of press time.

Throughout the ​CA hearing, at least five oppositions, including the representative from Lapanday Foods Inc., were allowed to speak against Mariano’s appointment.

Mariano was instrumental in the reinstallation of agrarian reform beneficiaries in the contested San Isidro farm area managed by the Lapanday Foods Corporation in Tagum City this year.

Resolutions from the RPOC and RDC in Davao Region were read during the hearing on Mariano’s appointment on Wednesday.

The resolutions issued on May 5, informed the CA “of the involvement of some government officials, particularly the Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform in the Lapanday incidents in Davao City.”

“It was in fact suggested that the GRP (government of the Republic of the Philippines) peace panel recommend to the Office of the President to exclude these officials, particularly the Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), from representing the government in the peace panel as they are reported have direct participation in the planning of the Lapanday incidents, thus, have betrayed the trust of the Office of the President,” the Joint Resolution said.

On April 29, the New People’s Army raided two factories and a ranch owned by the Lapanday Foods Corporation.

Mariano denied the allegations.

Mariano was also present during the peace negotiations held in the Netherlands in May related to the consultations on the drafting of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER).

The resolution was signed by Governors Anthony del Rosario of Davao del Norte, Jayvee Tyron Uy of Compostela Valley, Claude Bautista of Davao Occidental and Nelson Dayanghirang of Davao Oriental.

Two mayors also signed the resolution, to include: Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio of Davao City and Alan Rellon of Tagum City.

THE FIGHT GOES ON. Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano vows to continue his advocacy for the farmers and peasants’ welfare despite the rejection of his appointment by the Commission on Appointments on Wednesday, Sept. 6. (Alex D. Lopez/

Despite his rejection Mariano said he will not stop him from pursuing his dedication to serve the farmers and peasants in the country.

“Magpapatuloy tayo (We will continue),” Mariano said.

Mariano was appointed DAR secretary by President Duterte in July last year together with Sec. Judy Taguiwalo of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Both Mariano and Taguiwalo failed to get the nod of the CA.

Mariano is also the ​fourth ​ appointee of Duterte ​to be rejected by CA, after former Foreign Affairs Sec. Perfecto Yasay, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez and Taguiwalo. (

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