Ka Paeng’s appointment a victory for rural people
THE PEASANT research and resource center, Philippine Development Initiatives and Assistance for the Rural Sectors (PDIARS), extends its warmest congratulations and support to Rafael Mariano, chair of its board of directors and newly appointed secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform. The appointment of a poor farmer as head of the government agency, which has the central role in providing social justice to landless peasants, is clearly a historical victory for the rural people. Ka Paeng, as he is fondly called by fellow farmers and other marginalized sectors, is the perfect choice for the position as a veteran grassroots farmer-leader and people’s legislator.
Prof. Roland Simbulan, political analyst and development studies expert and Ka Paeng’s fellow in PDIARS’ board of directors, said: “Born and raised from the ranks of the toiling rural masses and schooled in their struggles, he knows fully well the conditions of our farmers. There is no better choice to lead the agency than Mariano.”
Ka Paeng is a highly respected peasant leader recognized both nationally and internationally. Aside from being chair of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, the broadest peasant movement in the country, he also holds positions in international organizations such as the Asian Peasant Coalition and the International League of Peoples’ Struggle.
The incoming secretary is known for his sharpness and expertise in each and every farmers issue, down to the details and figures which are always at the tip of his fingers. Ka Paeng has invaluably shared this knowledge not only with PDIARS’ studies and advocacies but with many other similar research institutions.
In earlier statements, Ka Paeng assured farmers he will work for the strengthening of their security of tenure, so that they will not be displaced from their farmland. Beneficiaries of the failed Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program can now allay their fears of losing lands awarded to them because Mariano vowed to reverse the previous administration’s antifarmer decisions, a moratorium on land-use conversion, and a stop to the cancellation of farmers’ land ownership certificates, among others.
With his steadfast commitment to his ranks and esteemed expertise on policy issues and legislation, PDIARS firmly believes that under his leadership, the DAR, for the first time in history, will now serve its purpose of protecting the rights of landless farmers and the rural people as a whole.
—TESS VISTRO, executive director, Philippine Development Initiatives and Assistance for the Rural Sectors Inc., [email protected]
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