Ka Paeng: I do not support, endorse armed struggle

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 06 2017 12:36 PM | Updated as of Sep 06 2017 01:21 PM

Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael 'Ka Paeng' Mariano, one of the remaining leftists in the Duterte Cabinet, on Wednesday said he does not support the armed struggle of the communist insurgency.

In his confirmation hearing Wednesday, Mariano said he had never supported violent efforts to overthrow the government despite having served as leader of various leftist groups like the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan before.

Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano answers questions during the Commission on Appointment hearing at the Philippine Senate on Wednesday. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

"Hindi ko sinuportahan, at lalo ngayong ako'y DAR secretary, hindi po ako nag-a-advocate o sumusuporta sa armed struggle o 'yung tinatawag na armadong pakikibaka," Mariano said, responding to a question from Senator Loren Legarda.

"Mauunawaan ko ang malalim na historical, moral at social na konteksto kung bakit may mga magsasakang humahawak ng armas at tumatahak sa landas ng armadong pakikibaka, pero 'yan po ay mahaba nang kasaysayan," he added.

As agrarian reform secretary, Mariano said he believes that giving the farmers their own land to till would be the ultimate solution to the social and agrarian unrest in the countryside.

"Hangga't di nalulutas ang pundamental na kawalan ng lupa ng mga magsasaka, hindi po malulutas at matutuldukan ang agrarian unrest, na siya ring pinag-uugatan ng pagkakaroon ng social unrest, na pinagmumulan din ng sigalot panlipunan," he said.

As a peace advocate, Mariano also said he is hoping that the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) will go back to the negotiating table.

Mariano and National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Secretary Liza Maza are the only Leftists remaining in the Duterte Cabinet after former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo was rejected by the Commission on Appointments.