DAR chief vows ‘agrarian justice’
- Mike Frialde () - August 24, 2004 - 12:00am
A legal eagle little known outside lawyers’ circles, Rene Villa believes the delivery of "agrarian justice" is crucial to bringing peace and development to the countryside.

Villa, newly appointed secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), said sustainable development in rural areas can be achieved through improvements in land tenure and the provision of integrated services to landless farmers, farm workers and small landowners.

"The delivery of agrarian justice is a key to long-lasting peace, industrialization and development in the rural areas," he said in a statement.

In his statement, Villa also said he was honored by the President’s show of confidence in him.

"I am honored by the appointment and I hope I can be equal to the task," he said.

The 51-year-old Villa, who took over yesterday from former secretary Jose Mari Ponce, vowed to speed up the implementation of the government’s agrarian reform agenda,

Born April 3, 1953, in Janiuay, Iloilo, Villa was a consistent student achiever during his elementary and high school years.

Villa majored in political science at the University of the Philippines, graduating in 1974. He was a scholar at the UP College of Law, where he finished his Bachelor of Laws in 1978.

Outside the classroom, Villa served as chairman of the UP Iloilo Student Council and was a member of the Order of the Purple Feather, the honor society of the College of Law.

After passing the Bar, Villa served from 1987 to 1989 as vice president of the Iloilo chapter of Integrated Bar of the Philippines, as vice president for Western Visayas of the IBP House of Delegates from 1991 to 1993, and as governor for Western Visayas of the IBP Board of Governors from 1991 to 1993.

Villa was also a professor of law and a Bar reviewer at the University of San Agustin college of law in Iloilo City and was a legal counsel of UP Visayas.

For his achievement in the field of law, Villa is one of this year’s recipients of the Outstanding Jubilarian Award given by the UP Alumni Association in Iloilo.

Before his appointment as DAR secretary, Villa served as presidential adviser for Western Visayas with the rank of undersecretary. Concurrent with his appointment, Villa was the regional development officer for Western Visayas and chaired the regional Kalahi Convergence Group in Western Visayas.

Villa also served as director of the Passi sugar central in Iloilo. He was assistant vice president for legal and administration of the Gulf Regional Office Landoil Corp. in Kuwait in 1983 and was acting manager of the Philippine—Singapore Ports Corp. in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 1981.

Villa is married to the former Sheila Villanueva. They have four sons — Rene, Felix Michael, Leo Giorgio and Anthony.

ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BACHELOR OF LAWS BOARD OF GOVERNORS BORN APRIL COLLEGE OF LAW DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM FELIX MICHAEL GULF REGIONAL OFFICE LANDOIL CORP ILOILO VILLA WESTERN VISAYAS
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