Duterte distributes land to farmers in Aklan, including Boracay
President Rodrigo Duterte reminded on Thursday the over 500 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in Aklan province, including Boracay in Malay town, not to sell the land awarded to them by the government.
Duterte led the awarding of 621 certificates of land ownership (CLOAs) to the 515 ARBs for the 274.5827 hectares of land in the province.
This was his first time to visit Boracay after its opening to tourists on October 26 following its six-month rehabilitation.
Duterte ordered the closure of the famous island resort after likening it to a "cesspool."
He had said he would only go to Boracay to distribute lands to the natives there.
Of the total land area that Duterte distributed, 2.2657 has. were given to the Boracay Ati Tribal Organization, Aklan, and 30.2704 has. for the farmers in Barangay Kabulihan, Malay, Aklan.
The rest were awarded to the farmers in nearby Barangay Nazareth in Buruanga town, and in Barangay Tagas in Tangalan town, both in Aklan.
"Take care of your land which is a prized possession for you," Duterte told the beneficiaries.
He said the awardees could not sell the land for a certain period of time.
Under Republic Act No. 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1998, the land could only be converted into other use after the lapse of five years from award.
"After the lapse of five years from its award, when the land ceases to be economically feasible and sound for agricultural purposes, or the locality has become urbanized and the land will have a greater economic value for residential, commercial or industrial purposes, the DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform), upon application of the beneficiary or the landowner, with due notice to the affected parties, and subject to existing laws, may authorize the reclassification or conversion of the land and its disposition: Provided, That the beneficiary shall have fully paid his obligation," according to Section 65 of RA 6657.
"In the meantime, till the land and make it productive," he said.
Duterte ordered Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol, who was not present in the event, to go to Boracay and help the farmers.
Duterte said the government is doing the right thing in distributing the state-owned land, contrary to the "land grabbing" that the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front wanted to do, such as what happened in Sagay, Negros Occidental where nine farmers were massacred.
The government has been accusing the Maoist group of being behind the massacre, while the leftist group was blaming the administration for the incident.
"You cannot confiscate (land)..occupy, just like in Sagay. You have started the killings there, especially the poor farmers," he said.
"I'd like to warn the communists...you cannot do it like gangster that you occupy and you hostage people," Duterte added. Celerina Monte/DMS