By Genalyn Kabiling
The agrarian reform beneficiaries in Boracay can sell their property after a 10-year prohibition period so they can become millionaires, President Duterte declared last Thursday.
But for now, the President advised the new landowners to till the land and make it productive during the ceremonial turnover of the agricultural lands in Aklan province.
Around 623 Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) covering 274 hectares of land in Boracay and other municipalities in Aklan have been distributed to agrarian reform beneficiaries. Six of the CLOAs were given to 45 members of the Boracay Ati Tribal Organization.
“Ang sinabi ko during the Cabinet meeting, we were discussing about it. And I told them, ‘Kung ipagbili ng mga anak ninyo, apo ninyo, milyon na ‘yan.’ Ang sinabi ko sa Cabinet, ‘At least kayo, in your lifetime maybe, or ‘yung mga anak ninyo, apo, makatikim ng pera na malaki.” Iyon ang consuelo ko doon [I said during the Cabinet meeting, we were discussing about it and I told them, ‘If your children, grandchildren sell the land, it would amount to millions. I told the Cabinet, ‘At least in your lifetime, you or your children, grandchildren will get a taste of huge money. That’s my consolation],” the President said during the ceremony in Boracay which has been recently reopened to tourists after a six-month rehabilitation.
“In the meantime, till the land, make it productive, and when the prohibition period is over, maybe your children can sell it and it would be million. So may mga Ati dito na yayaman balang araw,” he said.
The President, however, said he would not allow the land reform beneficiaries, including the ingenious people of Boracay, to sell their property at present.
The law prohibits agrarian reform beneficiaries to transfer awarded land during a 10-year holding period. Only transfers through hereditary succession or to the government or another beneficiary are allowed during the period.
Duterte pointed out that the agrarian reform beneficiaries were fortunate to have a piece of real estate in the country. He said they are now owners of the lands they have been tilling for the longest time.
“If I were you, wala naman akong ibang maibigay na sa inyo. Stick with the land. Make it I said productive and someday you can expect maybe sell it. At least ‘yung mga anak niyo, apo ninyo milyonaryo [your children, grandchildren will become millionaires],” he said.
“Huwag ninyong bitawan ‘yan. Sa karaming tao sa mundo, to own — makakuha ka lang ng piece of real estate, lupa. Sa karami natin, one million 10, tapos kayo dito nakakuha ng inyong lupa na inyo na, na maibigay na ninyo doon sa mga apo ninyo, at baka balang araw they so decide then it’s up to them [Don’t let it go. With many people in the world, to own piece of real estate, land… We are many, one million 10 and you get a chance to own land which you can give to your grandchildren. Maybe somebody they so decide then it’s up to them],” he said.
The President, meantime, vowed to continue to support the country’s farmers as he recognized their crucial role in food security in the country.
He said the administration would continue “to protect and uphold your right to own, control, secure, cultivate, enhance and reap the benefits [from] the agricultural lands you till.”
“It thus brings me great joy that our strong resolve to prioritize the indigenous people of Aklan, especially here in Boracay Island, by transferring ownership of these remaining agricultural lands, is now becoming a reality,” he said.
Duterte said he has ordered concerned government agencies to implement programs toward agricultural productivity and environmental integrity.
“We must ensure that no one will be left behind in our quest for development that is inclusive and sustainable,” he said.
“Let me assure you that we will ensure that all beneficiaries will have greater access to support services from the government so that they may have the capacity to become more productive members of the communities of Aklan,” he said.