President Rodrigo Duterte renewed his commitment to distribute land to agrarian reform beneficiaries before he steps down in 2022.
During his speech at the Kaamulan Festival in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon on Saturday, Duterte reminded entities who are occupying huge tracts of landholdings through lease agreements with the government that he will 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,” the President 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 just unfortunate for corporations who have been renting government lands as he will 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 cited what happened in Boracay where after ordering for the island’s cleanup, the government gave out parcels of land to the Aetas, the indigenous people living in the area.
In his March 8 speech in Sagay City during the distribution of certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) to more than 2,000 beneficiaries, Duterte instructed DAR Secretary John Castriciones to hasten the implementation of the agrarian reform program before he finishes his term.
In that same speech, he also ordered Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol to find out the needs of the farmers and address their concerns.
Duterte said he will get back at some personalities, including some media people who he said are receiving money other than what they receive as journalists.
“Don’t believe this investigative journalism, it’s all about the money,” he said, adding there are some journalists who engage in “ACDC” (attack collect/defend collect), where they earn money for attacking and defending personalities, especially politicians.
He mentioned the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) for coming out with a report on the wealth of the Duterte family.
“If you attack me, I will also attack you,” he said. (PNA)
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