MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he would make the entire Mindanao a land reform area, even as he vowed to make life better for the people of his home region through the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
“I am willing na ‘pag transition o wala pa, I will declare the whole of Mindanao a land reform area. Lahat ibigay ko, pati ‘yung lupa ng gobyerno. ‘Yung bukid mataniman mo ng rubber, mataniman mo ng palm oil,” Duterte said in a speech during the launch of the Maguindanao Balik Baril Program in Buluan, Maguindanao.
Duterte said idle government lands are better distributed to the people since these could be more productive in their hands.
“Hanapin ninyo ‘yung lupa ng gobyerno o ‘yung mga kampo ng military, ‘pag nagkaroon tayo ng kapayapaan, inyo na ‘yan,” he said.
“Kaya sabi ko, the whole of Mindanao. Lahat ng gobyernong lupa, inyo na ‘yan. Wala… Tao naman talaga ang may-ari eh. Wala man ring silbi. It is underdeveloped.”
Duterte made this promise as he stressed the importance of passing the BBL for the region.
“So let us fast-track ‘yung BBL. Itong BBL, hindi naman sino-solo ang Moro land. Parang liberal party o national (Nacionalista) party, magdadala lang ng boses ng Moro. Para mapakinggan at maayos natin,” he said.
“Ako, gusto ko ma-pwesto kayo. At kausapin ko si Nur [Misuari] kung ano rin ang arrangement. But you will have a definite Moro territory. Pwede na natin tingnan diyan," he added.
The President also reiterated his vow to have Congress pass the BBL by the end of May.
“Before the end of May, lulusot na ‘yan. ‘Pag hindi, baka mag-resign ako pagka-presidente. Inyo na lang ‘yan hindi ko talaga kaya,” he said.
The President, however, made an appeal to Mindanaoans to shun violence and Islamic extremism, as the government is still reeling from the 5-month siege laid by Islamic State-inspired terrorists on Marawi City.
“I’m willing to allow the Arabs to enter. Sabihin mo lang sa kanila, kayong mga terorista, ‘do not f*** it here,’” he said.
“Kasi magka-ano lang tayo eh. Madamay mga anak namin. Takbo-takbo ‘yung mga nanay namin na matanda na. Meron kayong sariling giyera, you fight it out there. Leave us in peace.' Ako, ayaw ko talaga. Basta terorista, wala akong… Well, I will never talk.”
Duterte, along with Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and local officials, witnessed the turnover of firearms by civilians and local officials as part of the government’s efforts against loose firearms.
Addressing himself to fellow Mindanaoans, Duterte said nothing will happen if they will continue to bear arms.
“Can you educate them using your gun? Can you plant a livelihood, gamitin mo ‘yan?” he said.