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Stakeholders support Mindanao land reform plan - Castriciones.

Various stakeholders in Mindanao are supportive of President Duterte's plan to implement agrarian reform in Mindanao, Secretary John Castriciones of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said.

In a news statement issued on Wednesday, Castriciones quoted Sultan Monsing Macabando of the Marawi Sultanate League as expressing his full support behind the Duterte administration's land reform agenda.

'We fully support the land reform program of the country. We are amenable to give enough space for all, and we are willing to help facilitate [the] land reform program in our communities,' Macabando was quoted as saying.

The expression of support came during the First Stakeholders' Consultation for the Distribution of Public Lands and Government Reservations to Rightful Claimants held at the Mindanao State University in Marawi City last Monday.

Attended by representatives from various government agencies and stakeholders of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the consultation gathered inputs about issues, opinions, and suggestions for the purpose of preventing possible conflicts or disputes that may arise prior and during the conduct of land surveys which will determine the areas that can be covered under CARP in Mindanao.

In Marawi City, which was devastated by the almost six months of war to free the city from IS-inspired Maute terrorists, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) intends to use a modern land-mapping system as part of the massive rehabilitation effort.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said in an earlier statement that the use of a geographic information system (GIS) land-mapping and information system is an important component of the Duterte administration's 'environmental peace-building' strategy.

By using the system, the government could identify, establish, integrate, reconcile and reestablish existing technical and physical land boundaries.

This same technology can be used to reconcile possible conflict or dispute involving overlapping land claims in Mindanao as far as setting boundaries are concerned.

The GIS is designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage and present all types of geographical data, which could be helpful in the effort to peacefully settle possible conflict as part of land distribution program under the Duterte administration's agrarian reform thrusts for Mindanao.

'The DAR secretary's visit and the conduct of the first consultation in Marawi City signify the department's sincerity and good intentions for the farmers of Mindanao,' Macabando said.

The sultan, however, expressed concern and reminded the government that the people's rights should also be respected during the course of identifying possible lands in Mindanao to be covered under the CARP.

The consultation is pursuant to President Duterte's directive to cover the whole of Mindanao as land reform area and to distribute all government lands, including military camps, to the farmer-beneficiaries.

Castriciones said he considered the discussion a success upon hearing all the views, issues and suggestions of all the concerned sectors.

'We have decided to form a committee where all the concerned parties will be involved so that all issues can address, deliberated and synthesized,' Castriciones said.

The secretary admitted though that the process will be a bit problematic because of the overlapping claims and the non-establishment of the metes and bounds of the areas to be covered.

'Once the committee succeeds in identifying the real owners or the real recipients of these lands, we hope that the just resolutions on these issues will lead to peace and development in Mindanao, particularly in Marawi,' Castriciones noted.

Castriciones said he is optimistic that the committee will be able to resolve the issues at hand, considering that all the sectors involved are very cooperative. He noted that this act already serves as an assurance that they will succeed in the land reform endeavor.

The consultation, spearheaded by the DAR, was attended by representatives from the various government agencies including the DENR, departments of National Defense and Social Welfare, Land Registration Authority, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, among others, and various CARP stakeholders in Mindanao.
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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Aug 15, 2018
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