CAUSE-oriented groups and farmer organizations on Friday gathered outside the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) main office in Quezon City to show their full support for the confirmation of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Paeng” Mariano.
Since last week, the DAR Employees Association (DAREA) has led lunch break actions in front of DAR. Farmers’ organizations nationwide are also conducting massive actions in support of Mariano’s confirmation.
“We have seen how Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo was unjustly rejected by the Commission on Appointments (CA) despite strong public clamor for her confirmation. We were all enraged by Secretary Judy’s rejection. Ka Paeng could suffer the same fate. We must let our collective voices be heard and let the CA realize that Ka Paeng is needed at DAR,” Antonio Flores, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) secretary general, said.
Mariano has made significant headway in terms of fulfilling DAR’s mandate which is to implement an agrarian reform program that would genuinely benefit farmers, Flores said.
“This is the first and maybe the last time that a farmer, a peasant leader took the helm at DAR. Ka Paeng is more than qualified. His advocacies, thrust and policy directives at DAR are based on the actual needs and demands of farmers and rural people nationwide,” the KMP leader said.
“Only big landowners and oligarchs will block the confirmation of Ka Paeng. Broad sectors of the poor and landless farmers want him confirmed. Should the CA reject Ka Paeng, we cannot accept another ex-general or former military official to replace him,” said Rogelio Montero, leader of Caraga farmers who camped-out in Mendiola.
Farmers’ organizations in the Panay region, Eastern Visayas, Cebu, Ilocos, Southern Luzon and Mindanao are launching activities in support of Mariano.
On August 29, Mariano’s supporters will lead a vigil at the Senate in preparation for the August 30 CA confirmation hearing.
“We are inviting everyone who has faith in Ka Paeng to support him on the day of his confirmation hearing. August 30 is a red letter day. We will all wear red. Red is the color of progressive pro-people change,” Father Oliver Castor, spokesman for the broad alliance Pagkakaisa para sa Tunay na Reporma sa Lupa, said.
The KMP called on the public to show their support to Mariano by appealing to the CA members, posting and sharing #CONFIRMKaPaeng on social media and online.