By JIGGER JERUSALEM
PRESIDENT Duterte has reiterated that he is very determined in distributing land to the agrarian reform beneficiaries before he steps down in 2022.
During a speech at the Kaamulan Festival in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Saturday evening, Duterte reminded entities that are occupying huge tracts of landholdings through lease agreements with the govenment that he would distribute these to the poor.
He said farmers who have already been identified by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) as would-be title holders must be given their due.
“Those already declared to be beneficiaries must be placed in their position,” Duterte said.
He said it is just right for those who have been tilling the land for generations to be awarded the titles.
“Those who have worked hard for the land must deserve it,” he said.
Duterte also said it is unfortunate for corporations who have been renting government lands as he would take it back and give it away to the landless.
“If they say they have invested so much, I don’t care. The law must be followed,” he said.
“The law says the land reform should benefit the agricultural tenant. That’s the law and there’s nothing I can do about it,” he added.
He cited what happened in Boracay where after ordering for the island’s clean-up, the government gave out parcels of land to the Aetas, the indigenous people living in the area.
In March 8, Duterte instructed Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones to hasten the implementation of the agrarian reform program before he finishes his term.
He also ordered Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol to find out the needs of the farmers and address their concerns.