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DAR to validate ‘productive’ land areas in Boracay

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, April 20th, 2018

FILE: PHOTO Boracay Island beach from afar

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) on April 24 and 25 will conduct validation of land in Boracay Island to identify areas that can still be considered productive.

The move is in line with the directive from President Rodrigo Duterte to place Boracay under land reform.

In a press conference Friday at DAR head office,  DAR Undersecretary David Erro said about 600 hectares of agricultural land in Boracay are feasible for distribution based on the agency’s record.

However,Erro said only around four hectares remain and can be considered productive. The inspection, Erro said, would help them revalidate the accuracy of their record and eventually identify possible beneficiaries.

Aside from the agricultural land, DAR’s records also identified over 300 hectares of forest land in the island which could also provide employment for farmers under community based forest management agreement with DENR.

According to Usec. Erro, DAR considers all land titles in Boracay invalid based on Proclamation 1064 issued under the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The proclamation, which was supported by the Supreme Court in 2008 through G.R. 167702, upholds government ownership over Boracay Island.

DAR added that once validation is complete, the process of distributing land to recognized beneficiaries will take up to six months. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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DENR to require ‘environment friendly’ vehicles in Boracay

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, June 29th, 2018

An e-trike

 

BORACAY Island, Philippines – Aside from rehabilitating the beaches of Boracay, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recommends measures to improve the quality of air on the island.

The agency said they will require all vehicles in the island to comply with the specifications stated under the government’s modernization program.

“They must be compliant EURO 4. Meaning they will have a new engine because we would like to make Boracay air pollution compliant,” said DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.

In line with this, the agency will push through with the phase-out of gas-fueled tricycles in Boracay come September this year.

Malay LGU Executive Assistant Rowen Aguire, it has been years since the local government introduced the use of e-trikes as a replacement for gas-fueled tricycles. It is about time to comply with the directive as stated in the 6-month action plan of the LGU.

“Ma pi-phase out siya kasi ika-cancel mo na talaga yung kanilang mga franchises…pati yung permit niya to transport ire-revoke na rin,” Aguirre warned.

(It [tricycles] will be phased out because their franchises will be cancelled…even their permit to transport will also be revoked.)

Tricyle drivers said they are willing to comply with the requirements of DENR though they have a number of concerns. DENR, for its part, assured that they will give drivers enough time to upgrade their units to become environmental law compliant. — Vincent Arboleda / Marje Pelayo

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17 local execs in Aklan face graft, other charges over Boracay mess

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, June 28th, 2018

Aerial view of Boracay sunset (via UNTV drone)

BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines – Seventeen (17) local officials of Aklan province are now facing multiple charges over irregularities in managing Boracay Island.

DILG Undersecretary Epimacio Densing III filed Thursday (June 28) charges of graft, conduct unbecoming of public officials, gross neglect of duty, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the services against them.

Among the respondents are Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores, Mayor Ceciron Cawaling of Malay, Vice Mayor Abram Saulog and members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Malay.

According to Rowen Aguire, executive assistant of Malay, Mayor Cawiling welcomes any investigation into the matter.

“Hihintayin niyang dumating yung complaints then they will look into the allegations and they will answer accordingly kasi ang tingin naman niya ay wala naman siyang kasalanan,” Aguire said.

Sangguniang Bayan member and chair of the local environment committee, Maylynn Graf did not expect her name to be implicated in the case. She argued that she was among the advocates of protecting the environment in Boracay.

“Parang baka kulang pa yung ginagawa ko siguro, kailangan kong dagdagan. private sector ako o taong gobyerno ako yun naman ang rason ba’t nandito siguro ako at yun lang ang palagi kong ipinapaglaban,” Graf said.

UNTV News Team attempted to reach Governor Miraflores via phone call but to no avail.

Other barangay officials, meanwhile, refused to comment on the issue. They said they will wait for the copy of the charges from the Office of the Ombudsman before they answer or comment on the case. – Vincent Arboleda / Marje Pelayo

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Palace set to release EO for Boracay land reform program – DAR

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: An aerial shot of Boracay Island taken during the  Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) aerial inspection with members of the UNTV News Team

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) already submitted to the Office of the Cabinet Secretary its proposed guidelines in distributing Boracay lands to farmers.

“This will be calendared soon sa (at the) Cabinet meeting and this will be presented to the president for the specific recommendation of the executive order pertaining to Boracay alone. And with that we hope that we will be able to clear and have a specific guidelines on the way agrarian reform program in Boracay has to be implemented,” said Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Atty. John Castriciones.

With this, Secretary Castriciones said the president might release this week an executive order to speed up the process of land reform in the island.

Castriciones noted that the president wants to immediately distribute the land in Boracay which then warrants the removal of illegal structures built there.

DAR is currently conducting surveys, inspections and farmer identification on the island.

“If there is no law giving justification on why they are allowed there, we will take measures to include those areas to be distributed to farmers,” said the Agrarian Secretary.

The government has estimated that 25 hectares of land may be distributed to members of the Ati tribe to improve their lives.

Meanwhile, the DAR secretary revealed that the government is offering affordable housing units to farmers.

The housing units can be bought at lower prices and are payable within 30-years with the help of other agencies like Pag-IBIG and Landbank.

Around 2.8 million farmers are expected to benefit from the program.

There are model houses in Bayumbong, Nueva Vizcaya, San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija, Argao, Cebu and Panabo City, Davao del Norte.

Castriciones said farmers just need to show their proof of income from farming to avail of the said program. — Cathy Maglalang

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