Duterte to land grabbers: Desist or face arrest, 500 rebel-returnees are new landowners

news national 1 pix 1 november 5 2018CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte gave a stern warning Wednesday against any group or individual who would forcibly occupy privately-owned agricultural lands, especially those already awarded to agrarian reform beneficiaries. “Desist or face arrest,” Duterte said.

The President issued the statement in the wake of the October 20 massacre of nine farmers, who belonged to a group that stormed and camped inside a portion of the Hacienda Nene in Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City. 

The President’s warning reinforces the official stand of the Department of Agrarian Reform of not tolerating “bungkalan,” a common practice of various farmers’ groups in Negros Occidental to assert their claims over landholdings without regard to due process.

“My instruction to the police is to accost and advise anybody forcibly occupying a privately-owned farmland to leave, and to arrest them should they refuse and resist,” Duterte said shortly before distributing land titles, covering 5,808 hectares, to some 3,400 farmer-beneficiaries at the University of Science and Technology in Southern Philippines.

Among the new landowners in the biggest single-day land distribution are rebel-returnees from different armed groups. These include some 300 former members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front of the 1,807 beneficiaries from Lanao del Norte and 241 former members of the New People’s Army in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental. 

Also receiving their Certificates of Land Ownership Award were 1,218 beneficiaries from Bukidnon and 134 beneficiaries from Misamis Occidental.news national 1 pix 2 november 5 2018 

“I’m 74 years old now and I’m still hopeful that I will find the answer to the war that continues even today. The reason why I am still here (in politics) is because I have made my commitment to you (to put an end to this war),” President Duterte said in local language.

Agrarian Reform Secretary John R. Castriciones echoed the same aspiration. “Definitely, this (land redistribution) will help our people, those who were former rebels to come back to the mainstream of the society and participate in nation-building,” Castriciones said in the sidelines of the event.

“The reason why many of our countrymen are lured to the ideologies that are contrary to the belief of our government is that they suffered difficulties and problems to their economic status. That is just one of the reasons,” Castriciones added. (Richard B. Gallardo)

news national 1 pix 3 november 5 2018Photo 1: President Duterte reiterates DAR’s official stand against illegal land occupation. Photos by Alberto Obcena

Photo 2: DAR Secretary Castriciones with President Duterte during the distribution of 5,808 hectares of agricultural land, the biggest single-day land distribution.

Photo 3: President Duterte, assisted by DAR Secretary Castriciones, hands Norma Abrenica a bundle of land titles for her and her fellow rebel-returnees in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental. 

#AgrarianReform #DAR4Farmers #Land4Farmers #ComfortableLifeForAll #PartnerForChange #CARP@30:DARe2Change