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President Rodrigo Duterte led the distribution of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) to at least 3,400 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), covering 5,808 hectares of land, in Northern Mindanao here on October 31, 2018.
Among the five provinces in the region, Lanao del Norte has the most number of ARBs with 1,807, 664 collective beneficiaries and 1,143 individual recipients.
Lanao del Norte has a total of 3,857 hectares covered under the agrarian reform program situated in the municipalities of Nunungan, Sapad, and Munai.
According to the Department of Agrarian Reform-10 (DAR-10), among the recipients of the CLOAs were members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) from Munai, who were given over 613 hectares.
Following Lanao del Norte is Bukidnon with a total of 1,218 beneficiaries receiving some 1,527 hectares; Misamis Oriental, 241 beneficiaries with 296 hectares; and Misamis Occidental, 134 beneficiaries with 127 hectares.
In Gingoog City, a component city of Misamis Oriental, about 283 hectares were given out to former members of the New People’s Army (NPA), who have organized themselves into the Tagpako Farmers’ Cooperative.
In his speech, Duterte said he has ordered Agrarian Reform Sec. John Castriciones to prioritize the distribution of lands covered under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in the countryside.
“I told him to give everything up for land reform there in Bacolod. For the beneficiaries who were unable to benefit from it, I ordered Secretary Castriciones to give it away. But don’t steal and kill people because if you do, my order to the police and the military is to have you evicted,” the President cautioned.
Duterte said he would give the lands to qualified beneficiaries but told them it can’t be done overnight, and that there was no need for forcible occupation of such properties.
“Just wait because I can’t speed things up,” he said.
The President also warned the NPA not to occupy government and private properties forcibly.
“Do not confiscate or seize or occupy the lands that are already owned. Don’t do that. Don’t steal lands that already have tenants,” he said.
He added: “Let’s talk. I’ll give you land. What will I do with those anyway? It’s not mine. I told Secretary [Castriciones] to distribute government-owned lands tomorrow…the lands that weren’t included as reservation for schools”.
He also ordered the military and the police to arrest the communist groups and their front organizations if they violently resist lawful arrest orders. PNA