DAR: No land for reform on Boracay
BORACAY ISLAND, AKLAN — No land could be subjected to land reform in Malay town, which includes Boracay Island, according to data of the Aklan provincial office of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
The data was confirmed by DAR officials even if top officials of the agency led by Agrarian Acting Secretary John Castriciones arrived on Boracay Island on Tuesday for a two-day ocular inspection and validation of at least four hectares of “patches” of land that could be placed under the land reform program.
Data from the DAR provincial office 2017 annual report showed that the targeted acquisition and distribution of a total of 1,882 hectares of land in Malay had been accomplished and distributed to 2,795 beneficiaries.
Malay has 17 villages, including the three villages of Boracay: Balabag, Manoc-Manoc and Yapak.
The data is part of a brochure of the agency’s provincial office, which is handed as an information guide on the office’s programs, targets and accomplishments.
Asked why the DAR was identifying possible land reform areas in Boracay despite the data of its provincial office, DAR Undersecretary David Erro, the agency’s spokesperson, said they were validating the information.
“The President ordered Boracay to be placed under agrarian reform so the DAR is checking,” Erro said in a press conference along with other DAR officials at the Malay town proper before proceeding to Boracay.
“Initially, there are four hectares (that have been identified). It will be validated but after all … wala, wala tayong magagawa kung wala talaga … That’s why the issue here is that every thing has to be validated,” Erro said.
He said there would be an exit conference on Wednesday evening to discuss the results of the inspection and validation process.
“There is no confirmation whether there is or there is no land available for agrarian reform (in Boracay). We only have estimates and the estimates have to validated on the ground,” he said.
Erro earlier said there were a total of four hectares being eyed that could be subjected to land reform.
On Wednesday, he clarified that another estimate of 170 hectares that was based on a study commissioned by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was not the position of the DAR.
President Dutere earlier declared that he would turn Boracay, the country’s prime tourist destination a land reform area, claiming he would have land distributed to farmers.
But several Boracay residents have expressed disbelief that there are still areas in Boracay suitable for land reform and farming as most of the land on the island have residential or commercial structures.
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