DAR chief opposes Marcos burial but will not quit Cabinet
MANILA — Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano opposes the sudden hero’s burial of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos but has made it clear he will not resign from his post in the President’s Cabinet as the head of the Department of Agrarian Reform.
“Before we entered the government, we were already aware of the differences we have with President Rodrigo Duterte on some issues. Despite our opposing stance on the Marcos burial, we continue to engage him on this matter,” Mariano said, in a statement on Monday, three days after Marcos was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Mariano, founding member of militant farmers’ group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), said President Duterte must attend to other “equally important issues.”
“We accepted the post in the Duterte government because we aim to find common grounds on pursuing talks for just and lasting peace including the release of political prisoners, completion of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), prioritization of social services, and the forging of an independent foreign policy,” Mariano said.
Mariano noted that Duterte has convened the long-defunct Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), resulting in decisions or considerations on “landmark cases” such as the revocation of two Stock Distribution Option contracts, one Agribusiness Venture Agreement contract, a two-year moratorium on Land-Use Conversion of agricultural lands, condonation of arrears on interests of unpaid land amortizations of agrarian reform beneficiaries, free irrigation, return of the Coco Levy Funds to farmers, and the end of labor contractualization. SFM/rga
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