31 Ati families to get Boracay land before Christmas

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THE GOVERNMENT is set to distribute about 7.8 hectares of agricultural land in Boracay to 31 families belonging to the Ati indigenous community before Christmas, according to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Jonas R. Leones.

“Sa palagay ko naman masyado nang matagal iyong Pasko (I think the period before Christmas is long enough),” Mr. Leones said in a press briefing at the Palace on Tuesday when asked when the government can possibly start its land distribution in Boracay.

The DENR has already turned over the covered land to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)

“(A)nd the DAR now is studying and evaluating the area on the feasibility of making this an agricultural area… This is what DAR is focusing on now and perhaps, sabi nga siguro, before Christmas, the DAR can already resolve how to distribute these lands,” he said.

As for the beneficiaries, Mr. Leones said the 31 families are those who have been verified as belonging to the “original” members of the island’s indigenous people, in line with the directive of the President.

The DENR official said the approximately eight hectare land, a small part of the 600 hectares on the resort island declared as agricultural based on Proclamation 1064, is the only area identified to be suitable for distribution. — Arjay L. Balinbin