Duterte says he can fulfill NPA's promises as gov't gives land in Mindanao
President Rodrigo Duterte told Filipinos that he can fulfill all the promises made by the New People's Army (NPA) as the government undertook the biggest land distribution ever last Thursday.
During the distribution of Certificate of Land Ownership to agrarian beneficiaries in General Santos City, Duterte asked for more time as he is planning to give away land titles all throughout the country.
"All the promises the NPAs made to you, I can fulfill them. But I would need time... The NPAs promises to you are just promises. It’s just a promise.
Maybe a commitment, patriotic or otherwise, I do not care... It’s here already and I can give it to you. Why don’t you just wait for it?" he said.
The CLOAs distributed covered lands in four provinces. These are 9, 419.7459 hectares of land in North Cotabato; 1,393.000 hectares in Sarangani; 3 142.9546 hectares in South Cotabato and 3,364.2370 hectares in Sultan Kudarat.
Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones said this is the biggest distribution in the history of land reform.
"My order was for all government-owned lands to be given to you. As long as
the land is government-owned, it shall be given away. This would be better than just leaving the lands there for the trees to grow on," Duterte added.
Duterte hoped that the next administration will continue his land reform project.
"Let’s just hope that the next government will find more government-owned lands and have it surveyed so that it can be given to the people," said Duterte.
Duterte told the new land owners to stick to the land and plant.
"That will be your livelihood and source of income even if it’s just small... One day one hectare will be worth one million (pesos). Just wait for it. Wait for a few years. Maybe after five years it will amount to 10 million ( pesos). That is the time that you will sell it," said Duterte.
Duterte again urged the NPA rebels to surrender, saying their communist group is about to end.
"Our war with the NPA has taken a toll of almost three generations. Fifty-three years... Our dialogue is about to end. Whether you agree to it or not, you NPAs, the communists, you are about to end," he said, adding the rebels doesn't have guns bullets and even food.
"There are no communist countries anymore. But Philippines is letting itself
be deceived. What are you expecting from them? I had grown used to providing you with a job and a house when you surrender to the government. I gave you food to eat and the opportunity to study at Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) so that you can learn new skills," he added.
Duterte even offered paying for the NPA firearms once they surrender.
"You don’t have to be scared of me because I will never kill a Filipino. You know, communism is all in the mind. But I will have the highest respect if what we are fighting about is principle," said Duterte.
Around 13, 585 agrarian reform beneficiaries received 12, 548 CLOAs which covered a total aggregate of 24,000 hectares of land all.over Soccsksargen. Ella Dionisio/DMS