Incoming Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano and incoming Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo vowed to continue serving the people. Mariano said he would strengthen the possession of farmer-beneficiaries to the lands while Taguiwalo said she would ensure that the services and programs of government actually reach the people.
By CARLA REYES
DAVAO CITY — President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has officially announced the members of his Cabinet, including ‘red and expert’ appointees nominated by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Duterte has met with several personalities that will join his Cabinet at the ‘Malacanang of the South’ at the DPWH depot in Panacan, Davao City on Monday afternoon, before he officially introduced them to the media in a press briefing.
Rafael ‘Ka Paeng’ Mariano, three-term Anakpawis representative and chairperson of progressive peasant organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) will serve as Agrarian Reform Secretary.
University of the Philippines retired professor and former Dean of the UP College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWD) Judy Taguiwalo will take over the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), to replace Dinky Soliman, who held the portforlio for the past 13 years during the Arroyo and Aquino administrations.
Taguiwalo, an activist since martial law, is a member of the National Council of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT).
Mariano said that ensuring the actual distribution of land to Hacienda Luisita farmer beneficiaries is among his priorities.
Mariano said that actual land distribution in Hacienda Luisita was thwarted by various maneuvers by the Cojuangco-Aquino family, aided by DAR officials who implemented the ‘tambiolo land reform’ scheme in 2013.
He said the actual distribution of Hacienda Luisita to rightful farmer-beneficiaries will be based upon the Supreme Court decision in 2013. “The real and actual distribution of Luisita lands to farmers is long overdue and recognition of the valid and just claim of farmers to the land,” Mariano said.
He vowed to take action on the petition for revocation on DAR’s conversion order of Hacienda Luisita issued in 1986. Mariano said he would also pursue the acquisition and distribution of 358 hectares that was issued Notices of Coverage by DAR in December 2013.
He added that the return of the P1.3-billion proceeds of the sales of the 580- hectares sold by HLI to RCBC is “imperative.”
“There is a need to strengthen the possession of farmer-beneficiaries to the lands. Not one farmer should be evicted from the land he or she tills,” Mariano told Bulatlat.
The incoming DAR chief said he would likely order the swift inventory of lands distributed by DAR.
“There is a need to scrutinize if DAR’s land acquisition and distribution accomplishment has accuracy and integrity,” said Mariano.
Mariano is also open to the immediate review of orders issued by DAR including conversion, exemption and exclusion orders, certification of retention and orders of cancellations of certificate of land ownership awards (CLOAs), emancipation patents (EPs) and certificate of land transfer (CLTs).
“The department should act on violations of farmers’ rightful claim to the lands.”
Mariano also said he would look into the status of 1.2 million agricultural leasees that are in various leasehold contracts covering 1.7 million hectares nationwide. He said the aim the review of existing leasehold contracts would be to ensure that they are favorable to leasees.
Mariano will also review and decide on trumped-up criminal cases filed by landlords against farmers in land disputes.
Actual services for the people
Meanwhile, Taguiwalo said she would ensure that the services and programs of government actually reach the people.
In an interview with Kilab Multimedia shortly after Duterte’s announcement, Taguiwalo said, “Umabot sa tao ang mga serbisyo at pangangailangan, ito ang gusto kong gawin…na hindi selective, na hindi para mamulitika at hindi para counterinsurgency.” (To ensure that services and needs are provided to the people…not [in a] selective [manner], not to serve partisan interests and not for counterinsurgency.)
In the immediate, Taguiwalo said she would like to find out if drought-stricken farmers received rice subsidy from government. She said she received reports that farmers from Panay have not received any rice subsidy yet.
Taguiwalo also vowed look into the status of victims of typhoon Yolanda.
Taguiwalo is set to visit the Lumad evacuees at Haran compound in Davao City today.
For medium-term and long-term plans, Taguiwalo told Bulatlat she would work closely with secretaries of health and education. Both services, she said, are also essential components of anti-poverty program.
“The DSWD can be effective only as a temporary measure in terms of welfare but the development aspect cannot be done by the DSWD alone. It has to be an issue of jobs, of lands, of health and education,” Taguiwalo said.