By Genalyn Kabiling
Land reform beneficiaries in Boracay could only lease or sell their property 10 years after the lands have been distributed, President Duterte said Monday.
The President said he wanted locals to have a chance to earn profit but they must abide by the prohibition period set by the agrarian reform law.
“Of course there is a prohibition. You cannot sell it at a certain period — 5, 10 years — and the sale always null and void,” Duterte said during the 120th anniversary celebration of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pasay City.
“And you cannot present any document there that would entitle you to permit to build or anything kasi ine-land reform mo,” he added.
The President issued the statement after drawing criticisms for his decision to distribute the land to the locals but also allow them to sell the property to the big businesses.
Duterte argued that his critics obviously did not listen and understand his proposal about Boracay.
He explained that he would give Boracay back to the natives so they could improve their lives and obtain the opportunity to earn huge sum of money in the future.
“Sabi ko, ‘unahin ko ‘yung mga Mangyans — natives diyan [I said, I will prioritize the Mangyans, the natives]. They have always been deprived of their lands there. Marginalized sila na taga ‘roon sila [They have been marginalized there] and the place is booming, making everybody a millionaire or at least with money,” he said.
“If after five to 10 years, ipagbili ng tenant doon, back to the land lords ang lupa, that’s okay with me [if the tenant sells the land back to the landlords, that’s okay with me],” he said.
Duterte said he would be content knowing the land reform beneficiaries would have huge sum of money after years of being deprived of benefits.
“At least makahawak ang mga tenants nila, sa buhay nila ng libo. Wala namang lupa binabalik ng 300, 500. It’s always 30,000, 50,000. That to me is the consolation prize of my heart,” he said.
“At least ang Pilipino na mahirap makatikim ng pera maski minsan lang sa buhay niya. At least ‘yung mga anak niya kung mag-aral, they can sell the property and continue if they just plan their life way ahead,” he added.
The popular tourist destination has been closed to tourists since April to pave the way for a six-month rehabilitation works. The island has been plagued with sewage and other environmental problems.
Duterte said he wanted to place Boracay under land reform program once the rehabilitation period is over.