80 IP members may initially benefit from Boracay land reform, Palace says
Some 80 members of an indigenous community in Boracay, Aklan are likely to initially benefit from declaring the island as a land reform area, Malacanang said on Friday.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to put Boracay under land reform is in line with Presidential Proclamation No. 1064 signed in 2006.
The proclamation provides that Boracay Island situated in the Municipality of Malay, Province of Aklan is classified as Forestland (protection purposes) and Agricultural Land (alienable and disposable).
The constitutionality of the proclamation was affirmed by the Supreme Court, classifying parts of the island into forestland and into agricultural land.
"Following the President’s instruction to prioritize indigenous people, there are possibly eighty individuals from Ati/Aeta village in Boracay island that could qualify as agrarian reform beneficiaries subject to screening," Roque said.
Per the Department of Agrarian Reform, he said an initially identified 18 to 20 hectares, with no structures, can be immediately placed under agrarian reform subject to further ground verification survey.
The government has closed Boracay to tourists for six months starting April 26 to undertake rehabilitation of the island, which Duterte likened to a "cesspool."
Duterte said it would be up to Congress to come up with a law declaring some parts of Boracay as commercial area. Celerina Monte/DMS