rehabilitation of Boracay
June 13, 2018
MANILA – The
National Democratic Front of the Philippines Reciprocal Working
Committee on Social and Economic Reforms (NDFP RWC-SER) said the
Government of the Philippines (GRP) promise to carry out agrarian
reform program in Boracay must start with free land distribution to
farmers and indigenous people in the island.
The free land distribution
component of a new agrarian reform program was agreed by both the
NDFP and GRP at the RWCs-SER in the previous rounds of the peace
After free land
distribution, Boracay farmers should be given sufficient support
services ranging from short to long-term assistance to aid them in
developing and making the land productive for the local and national
economy, the NDFP RWC-SER said, in response to President Duterte's
remark that Boracay natives should sell their lands to big
Agrarian reform imbued
with the spirit of social justice, indigenous peoples' rights, and
working people's rights is the Filipino people's demand. We
challenge the GRP to fast track the negotiations on CASER as when we
resume formal talks this month, said Julie de Lima, chairperson of
the NDFP RWC-SER.
Both parties must iron out
the few remaining contentious issues and come out with a common
draft for the Agrarian reform and Rural Development (ARRD) and
National Industrialization and Economic Development (NIED) of the
Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER)," De Lima
She added that the Boracay
case falls squarely within the ambit of agrarian reform and rural
development because the GRP itself has classified a big bulk of
lands at issue either as agricultural or suitable for agriculture.
A new and truly
redistributive land reform program is necessary, as it would pave
the way for a truly just and equitable agrarian reform to benefit
the most qualified beneficiaries in Boracay ”those who are actually
tilling the land, or ready to till it, or to work the land in other
productive ways such as agro-forestry, fishery, small-scale food
processing, and the like. The Ati community, including those that
have been displaced but willing to return, should be given priority.
De Lima also stated that the issue of environmental justice must be
served in implementing an agrarian reform program in Boracay.
In the last four decades,
the environmental situation of Boracay has immensely deteriorated.
The GRP agencies' aggressive and obsessive drive for tourist
revenues has resulted in grievous human rights violations such as
the displacement of its original occupants, the Ati community,
including the killing of tribal leader Dexter Condez.
De Lima noted that there
are various applicable provisions in the NDFP's CASER draft that the
GRP may find enlightening. The rehabilitation of Boracay can, in
fact, serve as a testing ground for the provisions of a signed
agreement on agrarian reform and rural development.