Farmers support ex-DAR Sec’s bid to return to Congress

Rafael Mariano, a veteran peasant leader, has filed the certificate of candidacy of Anakpawis Partylist in Comelec, getting full and unwavering support from farmers, poor peasants, and land reform advocates. 

Mariano, who hails from Nueva Ecija, also served in the House of Representatives from 2004 to 2013 as Anakpawis representative.

He joined the Cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte when he was appointed as Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary from 2016 to September 2017. In his 17-months stint at DAR, Mariano convened the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) to tackle a new land reform program that will replace the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) but the Commission on Appointments rejected him, following opposition from the landlord Manuel Gallego Jr.  

Mariano, who is fondly called Ka Paeng by farmers, will attempt to return to Congress to pursue pro-farmer legislation including measures advocating free land distribution, rice self-sufficiency, equitable distribution of the coco levy fund, and strengthening of the local agriculture and food production.  

The 7-hour glitch during the 2019 elections that catapulted the likes of Bong Go and Bato Dela Rosa to the Senate was the same tactic used to boot Anakpawis out of the party-list race. Farmer voters will triple our efforts to gain seats for Anakpawis in the 19th Congress, according to Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP. 

KMP said it will soon issue a “farmer’s challenge” for national candidates, to gauge who to support in the coming elections. The foremost qualities that we look for in a candidate are his/her stance on land reform, human rights, and social justice, Ramos concluded.  

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