Legazpi City (Jan. 17, 2017) – A party-list representative accused three cabinet members of stalling plans of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in its efforts to attain a genuine program for the Filipino farmers.
Rep. Ariel Casilao of Anak-Pawis particularly named Sec. Ernesto Pernia of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Sec. Benjamin Diokno of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Sec. Carlos Dominguez of the Department of Finance (DOF).
Casilao said that the proposal of DAR Sec. Rafael Mariano to impose a moratorium on land conversion, among others, had been allegedly opposed time and again by these three secretaries.
Based on the DAR secretary’s argument, the continuous conversion of agricultural lots into other uses have significantly decreased not only the opportunities of farmers to own land but also agricultural production as well.
Casilao explained it was a positive move on Pres. Duterte’s side to appoint a DAR secretary who understood the issues.
This however, would have little bearing if there are so-called economic managers who think otherwise.
The militant legislator pointed out that seven out of 10 Filipino farmers still do not own the land they are tilling.
At the moment, according to Casilao, genuine land reform advocates are scrambling to have new law passed since RA 6657 or The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 had already outlived its purpose.
The legislator lamented that it was a failure of a law.
So far, several solons have already seen the need to pass a new law to continue the reforms.
They are, pessimistic however if this move would even be considered by the cabinet or the so-called super majority in the House of Representatives. (J. Garalde)