DAR, Duterte fixated on Boracay while haciendas remain intact

Farmers hit hypocritical ‘Boracay land reform’

Farmers said President Duterte’s obsessive fixation with Boracay island shows his myopic view and attitude towards agrarian reform, its importance in genuinely addressing the demands of Filipino farmers, and in developing the national economy.

“Duterte wants to declare the entire Boracay as a land reform area but he wants to keep big landlords and hacienderos happy by refusing to dismantle big landholdings that ought to be covered by land reform a long time ago,” says Antonio Flores.

According to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), some 15.5 hectares of land in Boracay is eligible for land reform. Duterte recently said he wants the entire 1,023-hectare island declared as a land reform area except for the coastal areas which will be utilized for tourism purposes. The government closed Boracay island to tourists last month to give way to a 6-month rehabilitation.

“Farmers in numerous big landholdings are engaged in local struggles to defend their position in the land and assert their right as actual tillers of the land,” Flores said.

Flores said the big landholdings and haciendas should be prioritized by DAR and the Duterte government for land reform coverage. There are farmers in haciendas cultivating the areas and asserting their right to the land.

“A new and genuine land reform program is necessary for the development of the country’s largest productive force – the farmers, and for the economy in general. Free land distribution should also be a component of a new land reform program in order to veer away from the failures and shortcomings of the previous government land reform programs.”

The KMP leader said if Duterte can declare Boracay as a land reform area, he might as well issue a declaration to distribute the following haciendas and landholdings:

  • Hacienda Luisita (Tarlac) 6,453 has.
  • Hacienda Looc (Batangas) 8,650 has.
  • Hacienda Roxas (Batangas) 2,500 has. and divided into Hacienda Palico (1,024 has), Hacienda Banilad (1,050 has), Hacienda Caylaway (867 has)
  • Hacienda Dolores (Porac, Pampanga) 761 has.
  • Hacienda Yulo (Sitio Buntog, Canlubang, Laguna) 7,100 has.
  • Yulo King Ranch (Palawan) 39,000 has.
  • Fort Magsaysay Reservation Area (Central Luzon) 48,070 has.
  • Hacienda Zobel or Hacienda Calatagan (Batangas) 2,000 has.
  • Hacienda Larrazabal (Ormoc, Leyte) 6,500 has.
  • Araneta Estate (Bulacan) 3,000 has.
  • Hacienda belt in Bondoc Peninsula, Quezon Province
  • Danding Cojuangco Haciendas (Negros) 5,030 has.
  • Lorenzo-Lapanday plantations (Mindanao) 6,000 has.
  • Floirendo plantation (Mindanao) 8,500 has.
  • DMCI-Consunji logging areas (Sultan Kudarat) 102,954 has.
  • San Miguel Corp. energy areas (Compostela Valley) more than 19,000 hectares. ###

Antonio Flores
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas