Duterte eyes declaring Negros a land reform area

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 28 2018 12:16 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he is studying placing Negros provinces under land reform, citing feudalism in the region which he said might be addressed by distributing land to farmers.

"There’s a lot of trouble there and alam mo ito sa totoo lang I’m telling you now, the problem really is land,” Duterte told reporters Tuesday evening.

“We cannot arrive at a peaceful resolution of this controversy if you do not address itong feudalism actually. That's what's happening there.”

Duterte declared the plan over a month after unknown gunmen killed sugar farmers in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.

The President has blamed the communist New People’s Army for the killings while the National Federation of Sugar Workers believes the private army of a Negros landlord was behind the attack.

Duterte said the root cause of the land problem in the impoverished region must be addressed.

“So it’s about time that the landowners look at the reality of the world. There is a law and sabi ko hindi ito madala nang barilan. It has to be resolved… The root cause really is itong… It thrives best on issues about land reform or the absence of land of these so many people,” he said.

“I am sorry but whether I like it or not I have to act on it because there’s a law that mandates that the only way really is to follow the law and that is land reform.”

Duterte stressed the need to solve the land problem in the region because the “communists are exploiting it” by supposedly forcefully occupying idle lands.

“Magke-create sila ng federation ng mga farmers, then they go about looking for vacant lands and taking over plantations,” he said.

“Sinabi ko nga ‘yung okupasyon and I warned you that if you do that my order to the police and the military is to physically evict you. And if you do anything that is wrong and place the lives of my soldiers and policemen, I told them you can go right ahead and shoot them.”