KIDAPAWAN CITY — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Saturday, December 29, emphasized that “with or without the communist” the government would continue to fast-track land distribution to minorities under his term.
He expressed this statement as he graced the distribution of Certificates of Land Ownership Awards (CLOA) to Agrarian Reform beneficiaries at the Amas Provincial Gymnasium in Kidapawan City.
During his speech, President Duterte said that he intends to “dispose of almost all government lands” via land reform to alleviate poverty and friction caused by land disputes.
“Kaya sabi ko, even without communists, there will always be friction for as long as there is no real land reform,” he said.
“Without land reform… if land reform is not implemented, this war is not going to end if people continue to be deprived of land,” he added.
President Duterte also appealed to lumads to not listen to communist propaganda as the government is trying its best to address their primary concerns.
However, the President noted that in a democracy there is always a process that needs to be followed.
“Wag mo sabihin na uupo lang kami diyan sa puwet namin wala kaming gawin. We have already been working on an effective land reform program… at ang sakit ko kasi ayaw ko nang ibandera. I do not want praises, I do not want adulation,” he added.
Duterte also instructed Agrarian Reform Secretary John Rualo Castriciones to put all government lands under land reform during his administration.
“Sabi ko kay [Sec. Castriciones] ibigay mo na. ‘Wag mo ng patagalin kasi hindi natin matapos itong friction sa lupa,” he said.
Another clear example that the President restated was the land distribution to the indigenous people of Boracay.
“Maraming mga mayaman na lumapit sa akin, gawaan [ng] mga resort sa likod. Hindi na ‘yan — to the last day, hindi nila alam, sinabi ko i-land reform ko ‘yan. Saan ko ibigay? Sa mga natibo,” he noted.
“Biro mo ang mga anak nila makahawak ng milyon. Kailan pa ba ang Ati nakahawak ng milyon? Kay binigay ko sa kanila, five years, 10 years from now ipagbili nila ‘yan at least makahawak sila ng milyon. Iyon ang gusto kong mangyari. Makatikim lang naman ng milyon ‘yung mga lumad diyan sa Boracay,” he added.
According to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the CLOA distribution in North Cotabato totalling 11,443 hectares, that were awarded to more than 6,000 beneficiaries, was the largest landholding ever given to agrarian reform recipients in the history of the nation’s agrarian reform program. ###PND