At least 18 hectares of land identified for agrarian reform on Boracay Island remain to be distributed to beneficiaries, according to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
The parcels of land will be given to native settlers of the island who do not belong to the Ati tribe of Boracay.
The tribe members, who earlier received a total of 3.2 hectares, have declined to receive more land, DAR Western Visayas director Stephen Leonidas told the INQUIRER on Tuesday.
In his State of the Nation Address on Monday, President Duterte cited among his administration’s accomplishments, the distribution of land to the Ati tribe of Boracay Island.
“So I told the Agrarian Reform, ‘Go to the place, have it inspected because I will declare the whole of the island a land reform program.’ And I gave the islands piece by piece to the Atis, the natives of the place…,” the President said.
In November last year, Mr. Duterte formally turned over the 3.2 ha of land to 44 families belonging to the Boracay Ati Tribal Organization.
The land area is 0.31 percent of the 1,032-hectare island.
The parcels of land are covered by five collective Certificates of Land Ownership Award (Cloa) in four areas at Barangay Manoc-Manoc, one of the three villages on the island.
The Ati tribe members were the earliest inhabitants of the island even before the Visayans and the Spanish colonizers came, according to anthropological studies.
But this has been disputed by inhabitants of the island.
The government, through the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, issued in 2011 a certificate of the ancestral domain title (CADT) to the tribe covering a 2.1-hectare beachfront property at Manoc-Manoc.
The community occupies only a portion of the CADT-covered property due to ownership disputes.
Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones earlier said that aside from the 3.2 ha already turned over to the tribe, about 18 hectares would still be distributed.
Castriciones said they had identified native inhabitants of Boracay who had claims on land on the island.
“We will be giving them an opportunity to till the lands as well,” he said.
Leonidas said the parcels of land totaling 2.3 has in Manoc-Manoc were being processed for awarding through a collective Cloa to 31 non-Ati families within the year.
He said they were waiting for the completion of the subdivision plan for the area.
The remaining 16 being considered for distribution were still being validated by a composite team composed of personnel from the DAR and Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
This involves determining the suitability of land for agriculture, delineation of boundaries. and identification of probable beneficiaries.