Palace: Duterte still keen on delivering 'genuine' land reform

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 21 2022 06:06 PM

Indigenous peoples groups ABS-CBN News/file
Indigenous peoples groups and advocates picket in front of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples office in Quezon City on November 10, 2020 in time with the International Indigenous People's Heroes Day, calling against the government agency for its reported complicity in human rights violations against IPs and displacement of IP villages from ancestral lands. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA— With only 2 months left in his term, President Rodrigo Duterte is still keen to deliver "genuine" land reform in the Philippines, Malacañang said on Thursday. 

This, after presidential aspirant and labor leader Leody De Guzman this week urged authorities to stop the rampant land-grabbing, most especially in affected indigenous people communities.

Acting Palace spokesperson Martin Andanar said government was able to distribute over 229,000 hectares of agricultural land from July 2018 until May last year, benefitting over 166,000.

A total of 57 ancestral domain titles, on the other hand, were issued to 257,000 indigenous people from 2016 to June last year. 

"We therefore assure our people, including Ka Leody de Guzman, that our efforts to provide lands to landless farmers will continue until the end of the President’s term," said Andanar in a statement. 

De Guzman and his camp this week were involved in a shooting incident in Bukidnon, just as they were discussing land-grabbing issues with a local tribe. He described the shooting incident as impunity. 

"Parang baboy ang turing sa mga katutubo," he said. 

"Kasama sa laban para sa mas makataong lipunan ang pagsusulong ng panlipunang kaunlaran na kung saan walang napag-iiwanan," the presidential contender said in a separate statement. 

(They treated indigenous peoples like pigs... Our fight should include a just and humane society and its progress where no one is left behind.) 

De Guzman also challenged other presidential candidates to speak up on the plight of IP communities. He also sought for the distribution of lands rightfully belonging to them.

His runningmate, Walden Bello, meanwhile underscored the need for government to attend to the needs of indigenous peoples, particularly the recovery of indigenous lands under the Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act. 

— Reports from Job Manahan, Mike Navallo and Josiah Antonio, ABS-CBN News

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