Members of the Boracay Tumandok Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association march to their newly acquired farmland during the tense but otherwise peaceful installation in Barangay Manocmanoc, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan. (DAR)
BORACAY Island, Malay, Aklan – All is well that ends well.
Thirty-one (31) natives of Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan heaved a big sigh of relief after the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) installed them recently in two pockets of landholdings in the famous island resort that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte placed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
Tension initially gripped the area as the installation team, headed by DAR-Western Visayas (Region 6) regional legal chief, Atty. Geony Licera-Gregorio, and sheriff Chaddy Maday and Aklan provincial agrarian reform program officer-in-charge Ma. Teresa Valencia found a group of watchmen from a private security agency manning the two landholdings in Barangay Manocmanoc.
A representative of the security agency later ordered the watchmen to stand down and let the DAR, members of the installation team backed up by police, and the beneficiaries enter the area after Atty. Licera-Gregorio showed them the Writ of Installation.
The beneficiaries, who formed themselves into the Boracay Tumandok Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association (BTARBA), did a ceremonial tree planting to establish full possession and control of the farmland, with a combined area of 1.9858 hectares, that was awarded to them last March 12, 2020 but could not till it then as they were barred from entering the premises.
President Duterte sent a piece of advice to the new beneficiaries: “Till the land, make it productive so that you and your children and grandchildren are assured of a quality of life.”
“We will make our newfound homeland and farmland productive,” thus promised BTARBA President Mediatrix Hernani.
Atty. Licera-Gregorio said the installation of the new beneficiaries to their farmland came just in time as their homes in the so-called “Wetland No. 6,” technically called “Dead Forest,” had been scheduled for demolition by the Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group (BIARMG) for its rehabilitation efforts.
The beneficiaries got bonuses of sort when the Department of Environment and Natural Resources donated seized illegally logged lumber, which they could use for the construction of their new homes, and the Hennan Group of Resorts, as part of its social responsibility, provided the BTARBA a total of P930,000 which they can use as a start-up financial capital for farming.