MANILA, Philippines – Farmers' groups on Wednesday, September 6, condemned the rejection of Rafael Mariano as the Philippines' agrarian reform secretary.
Both the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said the decision of the Commission on Appointments (CA) is proof that President Rodrigo Duterte favors landlords and oligarchs.
"Mariano's rejection is another proof of President Rodrigo Duterte's fealty to landlords and oligarchs. Duterte chose to throw away whatever reforms Mariano has started in DAR," said KMP, a group formerly chaired by Mariano.
UMA noted that "all landlords and local and multinational plantation corporations" – those with agribusiness ventures agreements (AVAs) with agrarian reform beneficiaries – will benefit from Mariano's "dumping by Duterte."
"President Duterte never signed an executive order on an earlier decision made by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) which he chairs for a two-year moratorium on land use conversion. The US-Duterte regime has also stated time and again that it favors the expansion of agricultural plantations as one of its major policies," UMA said in a statement.
Both groups also blamed the joint resolution issued by the Davao Region's Regional Development Council and the Regional Peace and Order Council.
The joint resolution linked Mariano to the New People's Army attacks on Lapanday Group of Companies and the Lorenzo family last April 29 in Davao City and Panabo City.
President Rodrigo Duterte's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, signed the joint resolution together with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces chief General Eduardo Año, among other signatories.
LOOK: Joint resolution on the April 29 Lapanday incidents that was cited by Sato earlier pic.twitter.com/E9BMM7maaW — Jee Y. Geronimo (@jeegeronimo) September 6, 2017
"The marching order to reject Ka Paeng came directly from Malacañang and President Duterte. Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is among the oppositors to Mariano's confirmation because her husband, Atty Manases Carpio, is a legal counsel of Lapanday Foods Corporation," KMP noted.
UMA said it would not be surprising for the new agrarian reform secretary to reverse Mariano's orders at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
"It is now up to the peasantry and the Filipino people to ensure that there would be genuine land reform through their campaign to dismantle haciendas and plantations nationwide," the group added.
KMP, meanwhile, said "landlords like the Lorenzos and the Cojuangco-Aquinos have wrestled their way to get back control of DAR to favor and protect their interests."
Antonio Flores, secretary general of KMP, said Mariano's rejection is consistent with the Duterte administration's "refusal to address the socio-economic demands of farmers." – Rappler.com
Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.