To fight communist insurgency, Duterte orders swift land distribution before his term ends

Published March 6, 2021, 12:24 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte has ordered the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to hasten land distribution in areas that remain hotbeds for communist insurgency to eliminate the rebels’ influence.

(MB file, Keith Bacongco)

Duterte made the statement as he led the joint meeting of the national and regional anti-communism task forces in Cagayan de Oro City on Friday, March 5.

In his speech, Duterte said he wants to see the completion of the distribution of the land titles before his term ends.

“I hope that you will be able to distribute it before my term ends. Something to do, leave behind. Thank you. I will give away all 400,000 (hectares),” he said in Bisaya.

Duterte said he ordered DAR to prioritize the hotbeds of communist insurgency to address the issue.

“Do you know what I ordered him to do? ‘Prioritize the hotbeds.’ Just like Negros,” he said.

‘Why is it so hard to destroy communism in Negros? When the city or province used to be feudal, the insurgency is strong,” he added.

The President, however, warned the farmer-beneficiaries of communists, saying they will forcibly claim the land that was just given to them.

“This is what the communists do, and you better watch out. After forcibly taking property, the communists won’t give that land, agricultural lands, to the tenants. Instead, they would decide who to give the land to. And they’d even kill the tenants,” Duterte said.

It has been the policy of the Duterte administration to give away all government-owned lands that have been idle for decades. So far, the government has distributed more than 2,100 hectares in the Northern Mindanao region alone.

President Duterte said he was willing to spend money so farmer-beneficiaries can also receive fertilizer and seedlings from the government apart from the land titles.