By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has urged the country’s rich families including the Marcoses to share their lands with poor farmers, saying there was a time to keep and a time to let go of these properties.
The President said he would implement the agrarian reform program, and expressed hope that rich landowners would not resist.
“Sa ayaw ninyong mga mayaman, eh di wala akong pakialam. Ibigay ninyo ‘yan kasi ‘yan ang batas. Tutal hindi ko batas ‘yan eh. Batas ‘yan ni Cory Aquino. The problem is pati siya nagkaroon ng problema [To the rich who remain hesitant, I don’t care. You should give the land because that’s the law. It’s not my law, it was the law signed by Cory Aquino. The problem is even she had a problem],” the President said during the assembly of mayors at the Manila Hotel Tuesday.
“So kung nandiyan, bitawan mo. Ikaw, Imee Marcos. Ilan ba ang hektarya? Bitawan mo na ‘yang kalahati at tutulong kami sa iyo [If it’s there, let it go. You, Imee Marcos? How many hectares? Give up half of it and we will help you],” he told the Ilocos Norte governor.
Marcos, whose family has been accused of having ill-gotten wealth, was among the senatorial candidates present in the gathering of League of Municipalities of the Philippines.
In tackling his land reform program, the President also mentioned the vast sugar estate owned by the Aquino-Cojuangco clan in Tarlac.
He recalled that before the American colonizers left the country, they gave away the hectares of lands to rich families including the sugar barons in Central Luzon.
“Yung binigyan ng mga pamilya diyan, Central Luzon, tubo noon ‘yon. So the most powerful clan, ‘yung tubohan pati — kaya ang ano, central. Kaya nagkagulo ‘yung hacienda. ‘Yun ang ano ni… Hindi ko naman inano pero doon sila talaga vulnerable mga Aquino,” he said.
Duterte said rich landowners have enjoyed their wealth for many years and underscored that it was time to give away the lands to their tenant farmers. He noted that the world has become “a very small space” amid the growing population.
“So iyong lahat nabigyan noon ng lupa, hanggang ngayon panahon pa ng Kastila nandiyan pa sila. At ‘yung anak ng tenant noon, a century ago, tenant pa rin sila. Anak ka ng… Hindi pwede ‘yang ganun [To all those who were given lands since Spanish time, they’re still there and the children of the tenants a century ago are still tenants. Son of… That cannot be],” he said.
“There’s always a time na ikaw mayaman, pobre. Very healthy and sickly. And you have wants and plenty…There’s always a time to be born and a time to die. A time to surrender and a time to keep — let go. Kasi ako ibibigay ko talaga [because I will distribute them],” he added.
Duterte, who has promised to distribute lands initially government-owned lands to farmer beneficiaries, maintained that he would carry out the agrarian reform program without any postponement.
“Kung nandiyan na ang proclamation and they are named there, they should be placed in the possession of the land. No, no postponement. No nothing. Ibalik mo or isauli mo sa tao,” he said.
“Years ago para sa lahat ‘yon. But because of special connection or you happen to be in America. Well, it ain’t now,” he added.
Duterte said he would visit Sagay, Negros Occidental soon to oversee the land distribution.
He claimed that the agrarian reform program was part of the government’s strategy to put an end to the Communist armed struggle int the country. “That is the only way to make a headway dito, make the NPAs irrelevant sa buhay ng Pilipino,” he said.