Duterte bats for for­mer rebels' in­clu­sion in land dis­tri­bu­tion pro­gram

Sun.Star Pampanga - - NATION! -

PRES­I­DENT Ro­drigo Duterte wanted the for­mer com­mu­nist rebels to be in­cluded in the govern­ment's land re­form pro­gram, Mala­cañang said on Thurs­day, Fe­bru­ary 7.

The Pres­i­dent made the pro­nounce­ment dur­ing his meet­ing with his Cabi­net at Mala­cañan Palace on Wed­nes­day, Fe­bru­ary 6, Pres­i­den­tial Spokesper­son Sal­vador Panelo said in a state­ment.

"The Pres­i­dent di­rected the in­clu­sion of New Peo­ple’s Army sur­ren­der­ers in the next round of land dis­tri­bu­tion," the Palace of­fi­cial said.

Duterte's lat­est di­rec­tive was in line with his prom­ise to give bet­ter life to mem­bers of the com­mu­nists' armed wing, the New Peo­ple's Army (NPA), who will sur­ren­der and re­turn to the fold of the law.

The Pres­i­dent has re­peat­edly called on the NPA rebels to sur­ren­der, as­sur­ing them that he was ready to give them jobs and free hous­ing units to al­low them to have a com­fort­able life.

Panelo said the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive gave the or­der, as he and Cabi­net of­fi­cials had been in­formed by the Land Bank of the Philip­pines that some 361,000 farm­ers with ex­ist­ing in­di­vid­ual Cer­tifi­cates of Land Own­er­ship Awards would be qual­i­fied for a bank loan.

Also at the Cabi­net meet­ing, the De­part­ment of Agrar­ian Re­form talked about the stream­lin­ing of in­ter­nal pro­cesses of all agen­cies in­volved in land use con­ver­sion, in­clud­ing the im­po­si­tion of def­i­nite time­lines for its pro­cess­ing such as the pro­vi­sion of govern­ment per­mits, Panelo noted.

Mean­time, the Palace of­fi­cial said pro­grams for im­prov­ing the lives of farm­ers and fish­er­folk were also dis­cussed.

Panelo said Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Em­manuel Piñol had re­ported the "bucket list" for im­ple­men­ta­tion of pro­grams that will ben­e­fit farm­ers and fish­er­men.

"These are farm-to-mar­ket roads, ir­ri­ga­tion, which in­cludes so­lar-pow­ered ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem to be fi­nanced by an Is­raeli com­pany, stor­age fa­cil­i­ties, ac­ti­va­tion of re­gional food ter­mi­nals and strength­en­ing of the ro-ro pro­grams, easy ac­cess credit for farm­ers, in­sti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion of a farmer/ fish­er­folk credit union, and the cre­ation of a cabi­net clus­ter headed by the Pres­i­dent," he said. (Ruth Abbey Gita/SunS­tar Philip­pines)

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