DAR to dispose 8 hectares for Duterte’s land reform in Boracay

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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Wednesday turned over to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) technical survey records and authority to administratively dispose eight landholdings on Boracay Island, in accordance with existing laws, rules and regulations of the land reform program.

“This is a milestone and a showcase of convergence of resources, of the agency of the national government when it comes to alleviating the plight of our people. This is the exact picture we would like to show to our public that the different agencies are one in terms of rural development and ecological balance as well as preservation,” said DAR Assistant Regional Director for Operations Gideon Umadhay in his message during the turn-over ceremony.

The eight landholdings have a total land area of 7.9640 hectares situated in Barangay Manoc-Manoc.

He said it stemmed from the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte “proclaiming the island of Boracay as a land reform area”.

“With the technical documents turned over to us, we have now the jurisdiction to conduct survey, approval of the survey returns by the DENR as well and disposition of the lots covered by the eight lots therein,” he added.

He added they can now “roll out with the land distribution” with the Ati farmers as primary beneficiaries based on the certified list provided to them by the National Commission of Indigenous People.

A survey team is currently in Boracay to conduct a consultation with the Ati who signified their intention to become a beneficiary under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

DAR will also conduct perimeter and subdivision survey of the identified landholdings.

Umadhay said they hope to be able to award the titles to the beneficiaries on the first or last week of December if they will be given a go-signal for the collective certificate of land ownership award (CLOA).

Right after that, they can apply for the subdivision of the lots into parcel should they want to have an individual title. Under the land reform program, each beneficiary is entitled to not less than 1,000 square meters as with the case of farm lots.

He added that no amount will be extracted from the beneficiaries during the survey and processing of titles.

DENR Western Visayas Regional Executive Director Jim Sampulna said they only assisted the DAR in identifying the areas. A team comprised of DENR, DAR and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) was formed to look into the landholdings.

“That’s the only area that is suitable for agriculture,” he said. The area has no commercial establishments although if there are claimants, then the DAR is tasked to look into it.

Umadhay added there will be more areas to be announced as Boracay is declared a “total area for land reform”.

“But definitely we must take into consideration that there are actual occupants and improvement made on the lot which will be subjected to the second phase,” he said. (PNA)