7.9 hectares of Boracay agri land for Ati farmers

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This is Boracay as seen atop Mt. Luho in Barangay Yapak, one of the island’s three villages. Boracay will reopen to tourists on Oct. 26, 2018 after six months of rehabilitation. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN

ILOILO City – Eight landholdings having a total land area of 7.9640 hectares in Barangay Manoc-Manoc, Boracay Island have been identified as agricultural and would be disposed.

Ati farmers in the island would be the primary beneficiaries, said Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) assistant regional director for operations Gideon Umadhay.

Yesterday the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) turned over to DAR the technical survey records and authority to administratively dispose the eight landholdings in accordance with existing land reform laws, rules and regulations.

The move was in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement that Boracay is a land reform area right after he ordered the island’s closure beginning April 26 this year for six months of rehabilitation.

“With the technical documents turned over to us, we now have the jurisdiction to conduct survey, approve survey returns by the DENR as well and dispose lots,” said Umadhay.

Ati farmers would be the primary beneficiaries based on a certified list from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, he added.

A survey team is currently in Boracay conducting consultations with Atis who signified interest to become beneficiaries under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

“This is the picture we would like to show to our public. Government agencies are one in terms of rural development, ecological balance and preservation,” said Umadhay.

DAR will also conduct perimeter and subdivision survey of the identified landholdings.

If they are given the go-signal for a collective certificate of land ownership award, Umadhay said, they hope to award the titles to the beneficiaries on the first or last week of December.

Right after that the beneficiaries could apply for the subdivision of lots into parcels should they want to have individual titles.

Under the land reform program, each beneficiary is entitled to not less than 1,000 square meters as with the case of farm lots.

No amount would be extracted from the beneficiaries during the survey and processing of titles, said Umadhay.

DENR regional executive director Jim Sampulna said his office assisted the DAR in identifying the agricultural areas in Boracay.

A team composed of personnel from the DENR, DAR and the Department of the Interior and Local Government was formed to look into the landholdings.

“Those were the only areas suitable for agriculture,” said Sampulna.

The areas have no commercial establishments but should there be claimants, DAR would deal with them, he said. (With a report from the Philippine News Agency/PN)

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