Group throws support to DAR, DSWD execs bypassed by CA

May. 05, 2017

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—A farmer-scientist group on Friday expressed its full support for the confirmation of the two remaining cabinet secretaries bypassed by the Commission on Appointments.


MASIPAG said that Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo should get the CA nod because they “served the poor.”


“We need to support the confirmation of secretaries Mariano, Taguiwalo and Lopez. Their track record of serving the poor and underrepresented is unquestionable. For decades, the Philippines have been a paradise for huge corporations who are enjoying the wealth of our natural resources and the labor of our people,” said Cristino Panerio, national coordinator of MASIPAG.


Panerio said that it is high time the public should support Mariano, Taguiwalo and environment secretary Gina Lopez whom he described as “pro-people leaders” for being vocal about the injustices done to the country.


“The three secretaries are facing opposition due to their pro-people stance. Ka Paeng Mariano, for decades, has served the multitude of Filipino farmers calling for the redistribution of lands controlled by a few wealthy families and foreign agro corporations. Judy Taguiwalo’s reappointment is being opposed by patronage politicians who are interested in the pork barrel involving DSWD funds. Gina Lopez is being opposed by huge mining firms operating in the country,” he pointed out.


He also expressed dismay on the move of the CA to reject the appointment of Gina Lopez as the environment secretary.


“We are disappointed with the rejection of Gina Lopez, and we are utterly disgusted that the interests of the capitalists and plunderers prevailed over that of the people and the environment,” said Panerio.


“In such as short span of time, we have been hopeful that we finally have an environment secretary that champions not only the conservation of our natural resources, but also genuinely cares for the people,” he added.


Panerio said that MASIPAG has been calling for a farmer-centered sustainable agriculture free from corporate control.  “Large scale mining, landlessness and corporate domination of the agriculture industry have exacerbated poverty among the small and resource-poor farmers leading to indebtedness and hunger,” he said.


“A lot of farmers are very much interested do away with the ‘business-as-usual’ type of agriculture. However, these farmers cannot do their role to produce food for the people because most of them do not have own the lands to till. The livelihood of our indigenous peoples and small farmers are also being threatened by the destruction being brought by huge mining industries. These secretaries are different, they are dedicated servants who are pushing for a change in the system that’s why we support them” Panerio pointed out. (

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