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‘Mariano is all talk’

/ 12:10 AM April 28, 2017

Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano is all talk, talk and more talk. A communist at heart, he is obviously trying to ingratiate himself to the left-leaning clique in and out of the Duterte administration. But hasn’t he heard that Maoists in China have long been consigned to oblivion with the advent of the capitalist regime that now controls all the wealth and power in that country?

As reported in “DAR chief says 6M hectares for farmers” (News, 4/17/17), Mariano boasted that he is going after some 6 million hectares of public and private agricultural lands for free distribution to poor farmers, supposedly as a truer measure of genuine justice. He did not say how he was going to circumvent the constitutional injunction and the law already in place regarding “just compensation” to the landowners. Ah, basta—he seemed to say.

It is well for him to understand that not all landowners in this country are multimillionaires. They acquired property they now own and live on through sheer honest, hard work. To deprive them of what they rightfully own under the laws of the land just like that smacks of arbitrariness. Mariano may have forgotten that our system of government is still democratic, not communistic.

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But here’s something that Mariano can do right away, i.e., right now: His department should initiate proceedings to confiscate the hundreds of hectares of agricultural lands sold by farmer-beneficiaries to capitalists now operating that so-called “Hacienda Binay” in Batangas. Being subject of forfeiture for having been disposed of contrary to law, those farm lots are now fair game and can be given away to other more qualified farmers—for free. That should be a good start. It’s a no-brainer.

If Mariano can do that, then kudos to him. But we believe President Duterte—who is friends with people who actually own that “royal” estate and have been enjoying its amenities for their rest, recreation or staycation—will hear none of it. We suspect Mariano’s energies will instead be focused on the President’s least favored, if not most hated, things like the Hacienda Luisita. As urged by his comrade in Congress, that vast hacienda should be “the first to be distributed free” (Inquirer.net, 4/8/17). So, there you go, weather-weather pa rin, ha?!

MARCELO “JR” GARCIS,
hello.garci.jr@gmail.com

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TAGS: agrarian reform, Duterte administration, Secretary Rafael Mariano
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