Duterte wants Masbate under land reform

Ed Amoroso, Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has vowed to place Masbate under land reform to address communist insurgency.

“I will implement land reform in Masbate. Believe me, with or without the communists, we can. I still have three years.  I will distribute all the lands owned by the government,” the President said at a forum of small businesses in Dimasalang town on Wednesday.  

“I will tell DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform) Secretary (John) Castriciones to study it. We will distribute everything. By the end of my term, all government lands would have been distributed,”  Duterte said.

Castriciones said he would call a meeting of DAR officials to come up with a plan to implement the President’s  order.

Last November, Duterte said he is studying the possibility of placing Negros island under land reform as he expressed concern over the ”incessant” recruitment of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.

Duterte slammed communist rebels anew, saying their armed struggle has claimed the lives of many innocent people. He said communist insurgency also failed to gain public support.  

In Occidental Mindoro, seven communist rebels, who are members of the Mangyan tribal community, surrendered to the military in Sitio Culasisi, Barangay Batong Buhay, Sablayan.

Lt. Col. Mario Lito Retirva, 76th Infantry Battalion commander, said the surrenderees were involved in extortion and killings perpetrated by the NPA.

On Tuesday, soldiers recovered three M16 rifles buried by NPA rebels in a forested area in Sitio Kabilugan, Barangay  San Vicente, Abra de Ilog also in Occidental Mindoro.



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