Agrarian Reform to cover 900 hectares of Boracay MANILA, Philippines — Close to 900 hectares of agricultural land on Boracay Island will be secured by the government’s agrarian reform program, an authority of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said yesterday.
David Erro, DAR undersecretary for policy, planning and research, said that a group from the agency that examined Boracay found that 845 hectares of land on the island could be subjected to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). “Of the figure, 25 hectares are immediately coverable by CARP and can be distributed to around 80 Aeta beneficiaries within three months or less. This will be Phase 1 of the land distribution,” Erro said in a news conference in Quezon City. The 25.7658-hectare property comprises of 14.6643 hectares in Barangay Yapak, 10.0922 hectares in Barangay Manoc-Manoc and 1.0093 hectares in Barangay Balabag. Erro said Phase 2 would involve distribution of 220 hectares of agrarian lands, and 600 hectares in Phase 3. “These lands are those occupied by residential structures or commercial establishments. Removal of these structures will have to be facilitated first. It will take a while before this can be distributed,” he said, adding the beneficiaries should be landless, at least 15 years old and willing to cultivate the land. He said they have drafted an official request to be signed by President Duterte approving the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to exchange the management of agricultural lands to the DAR. “This will take effect 15 days after the President signs the EO,” Erro said.
Duterte prior promised to distribute Boracay lands to farmers after declaring the 1,032-hectare resort island an agrarian reform area. Avoid temptation Besides tidying up Boracay, Duterte has ordered Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to stay away from the temptation of looking at beautiful women in skimpy bathing suits. “The Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu (is here). He is a general. We know we have many problems… The one about Boracay and open pit mining. It’s destroying the country,” Duterte said in a speech before members of the Filipino community at the Grand Hilton Hotel in Seoul on Sunday. He said he saw how Cimatu looked with desire at the female guests in Boracay in a photo that arrived on the first page of The STAR a few days after the island was closed down. “When I looked at the newspaper, I saw the photograph showing Roy Cimatu walking on the beach. A few meters ahead were two white women in bikinis. Cimatu pretended to walk past the foreigners but without taking off his eyes from them,” Duterte said. Cimatu, who joined other Cabinet individuals on the stage, simply laughed as the President teased him. “He has been doing a good job so far,” Duterte said, referring to Cimatu. He said he needs to ban open-pit mining in Boracay due to the negative effect on the environment. “I will decide. I do not decide by years. I decide by weeks and months. Maybe, I will close down areas where open-pit mining operates. Everywhere in the country, there is open-pit mining,” he said. Duterte said occupants in poor networks are affected by open-pit mining. “The rich are not affected. My concern is on the marine life, the source of livelihood of the fisherfolk,” he said, adding, “Either we have to reinvent mining in the Philippines or shut down all these by the end of the year.” Duterte ordered Cimatu and acting Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to investigate the issues hounding Boracay and open-pit mining. He promised to retain Boracay as a land reform area, saying he is neither biased against the poor nor favoring the rich. “I am not cleaning Boracay for the sake of the rich. I’m cleaning it up for the Filipinos. Boracay is still classified as a forest and agricultural area,” he said. Duterte said he couldn't allow residential and business establishments to work without proper permits and sewage framework. He said it would ruin endeavors to restore the island, as waste from residential areas would likely end up in the sea. “You know, Boracay is just a small place. It cannot handle two or three communities, plus the activity at the beach fronts. Because their septic tanks go to the canals that lead to the sea,” he said.
Duterte stressed the need to safeguard the environment and address the concerns on public safety and health. He repeated that he would prioritize the locals once the restoration of Boracay is finished. â€œI will give it to the people for agricultural purposes, otherwise moneyed people would get it and build resorts here and there,â€? he said. In April, Duterte issued Proclamation No. 475 closing Boracay and putting it under a state of calamity for six months. The proclamation came two months after the President portrayed the top tourist destination as a cesspool because of the absence of sewerage system. The closure was expected to cost the economy some P1.9 billion and displace about 35,000 laborers.
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The government’s agrarian reform program on Boracay Island, Philippines.