By Tara Yap
Iloilo City—Two weeks prior to the tourism reopening of Boracay Island, the road to land reform is underway as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has turned over its technical report to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Wednesday identifying the areas that can be given free.
President Duterte has repeatedly announced his intention to put the popular resort island in Malay town, Aklan province under land reform and give the land to farmers.
But out of the 1,032-hectare land area, the technical report of DENR and DAR only identified eight landholdings in ManocManoc village with a total land area of 7.9 hectares.
Jim Sampulna, DENR Western Visayas regional director, told Manila Bulletin the technical report handed over to DAR contains maps and descriptions of identified areas that can be given for free by the government to selected beneficiaries.
While the process to Boracay’s land reform has formally kicked off, Boracay locals are still confused with Duterte’s statements. They said the island has never been suitable for farming, not even before the tourism boom.
In previous interviews, Boracay locals told the Manila Bulletin that only root crops, banana and coconuts could be grown in the island. They further disclosed that rice supplies and vegetables have long been acquired from mainland Malay and other parts of Aklan province.