AGRICULTURAL land in Boracay with an estimated total of four hectares will be assessed by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) ahead of the island closure, the agency said in a press briefing on Friday, April 20.
Agrarian Reform Undersecretary David D. Erro said on Friday Agrarian Reform Secretary John R. Castriciones will conduct an “on-site evaluation” in Boracay on April 24 and 25 to determine if agricultural lands in the island can be subjected to land reform.
Baseline data provided by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) in Aklan reported patches of land in Manoc-Manoc, Balabag and Yapak as agricultural.
Mr. Erro said this was in response to President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s order this month to place the island under land reform.
Proclamation No. 1064, issued in 2006 by then-president Gloria M. Arroyo, classified Boracay “into forestland (protection purposes) and into agricultural land (alienable and disposable).”
According to Mr. Erro, once the department verifies the areas as arable, this can be distributed to farmers within six months.
“On the part of DAR, it can be distributed within six months,” he said. “But the department’s phasing will depend still on the movement of other involved agencies.”
Mr. Erro also said 300 hectares of forestland in Boracay may be entrusted to farmers through a community-based forest management agreement (CBFMA) with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
As basic requirements, according to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, farmers seeking land entitlement must be at least 15 years old and must be “actually tilling or managing the farm.” At most, a farmer may be entitled to three hectares of land. — Charmaine A. Tadalan