Boracay can be a land reform area without sacrificing tourism.
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John Castriciones on Wednesday, June 6, said they would still maintain Boracay as a “tourist destination.” However, they would have to limit it in the beach areas since “these are where the tourists spend time and linger. These are areas wherein they are more interested.”
The DAR has found that there are agricultural lands that have been developed for commercial purposes, Castriciones revealed.
According to him, limiting tourism to certain areas would prevent conversion of agricultural lands as these will now be covered by the government’s agrarian reform program.
DAR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and Research David Erro, for his part, said that a map is being developed by the department. This map serves as their guide where tourism sites in Boracay would be maintained and which areas could be placed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
A team from DAR already verified that 845 hectares of land in Boracay can be subjected to CARP.
“Out of this figure, 25 hectares can be immediately covered by the land reform program and distributed to around 80 Aetas as beneficiaries within three months, or even less. This will just be phase 1 of the land distribution,” Erro said.
Phase 2 will entail distribution of 220 hectares of agricultural lands while phase 3 will consist of 600 hectares to be distributed to farmer-beneficiaries, he added.
Phases 2 and 3, however, will involve lands where structures, including commercial establishments, have been built, so removal of these structures will have to be done first.
“It will take a while before they can be distributed,” Erro said.