Duterte fumes at slow land use conversion, but still trusts DAR chief

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 08 2019 01:14 PM | Updated as of Feb 08 2019 09:52 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte may have been fuming at the sluggish pace of resolving land use conversion requests at the Department of Agrarian Reform, but he still trusts its secretary, John Castriciones, a Palace official said Friday.

In a press briefing, Secretary to the Cabinet Karlo Alexei Nograles said Castriciones “still enjoys the trust and confidence of the President. In fact the President said something to that effect.”

Duterte blew his top and stormed out of the room during Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting after learning about the tedious process involving land use conversion cases.

Nograles said he was not aware of any specific case that caught Duterte’s ire, but that the issue was brought to the President’s attention.

He said the DAR has committed to resolve land use conversion requests as fast as possible, but the agency relayed concerns about the process of getting certifications from other government agencies.

He said the DAR, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Energy, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, National Housing Authority, and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board have agreed to draft a joint memorandum circular that will streamline the process from the current 24 to 36 months to just 30 days.

Duterte had earlier warned he would fire two DAR officials over the matter, but Nograles said the President has not yet followed through with this threat.