Baguilat upbeat with leftist Mariano as DAR secretary

>> Monday, June 13, 2016

By Aiza Liza Namingit 

 LAGAWE, Ifugao -- As Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) marks its 28th anniversary on June 10, re-elected Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat said he is upbeat with the appointment of Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano as next Agrarian Reform chief.
 “As a farmer leader who strongly advocated for a more revolutionary agrarian reform implementation, Ka Paeng definitely makes for an interesting choice to fulfill the mandate of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and confront its adversaries,” said Baguilat.
"It's quite interesting because the incoming Secretary would come from the ranks of the farmers. But it's also going to be challenging because Ka Paeng has always been critical of the law and the government. Now, he will be on the other side of the fence." 
 However, Baguilat appealed with Mariano to complete the remaining land distribution of 700,000 hectares to benefit some 460,000 landless beneficiaries under the CARP while pushing for the passage of a better agrarian reform law in Congress.
 The chairperson of the Committee on Agrarian Reform in the 16th Congress said Ka Paeng was a constant resource person in his committee’s hearings, who consistently carried a torch for the passage of the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB).
 “We may differ in our ideological leanings, but I appreciate his firebrand style of advocacy for farmers’ rights. Now that he assumes a leadership role in government, his primary mandate is to implement the law as embodied in the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) and the CARP Extension with Reforms Law,” said Baguilat.
Baguilat thinks Mariano can use his influence on the Duterte administration and push passage of a more Constitutional GARB and protect the rights of small farmers against pending proposals to revise property rights under the 1987 Constitution such as possible foreign ownership of land. 

“If he can push for such a radical bill, this may be the game changer needed to signal rural development. KaPaeng faces big adversaries with real estate developers, plantation owners, the hacienderos and other forces aiming for land reconsolidation. I am willing to help in Congress, provided the problematic provisions of the GARB are ironed out,” Baguilat said. 


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