President Rodrigo Duterte led Thursday, June 13, land distribution in Region XII, which would create an enabling environment for the localized peace talks to prosper on the ground, an official said.
“This act shows the sincerity of the government in addressing the underlying causes of the conflict in the country,” said Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr, who was present during the land distribution ceremony held in General Santos City.
The localized peace talks are part of the efforts under the Whole-of-Nation-Approach to end the armed conflict with the communist group.
Galvez said land distribution would also help in the government’s efforts to improve the human security conditions in the country.
“With the determination of President Duterte to address the fundamentals of the problem in our society, we at the Office of the Presidential Peace Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) is resolute in our quest towards a sustainable and enduring peace,” he said.
Some 12,548 Certificates of Land Ownership Award covering 24,000 hectares in Region XII were distributed to 13,585 agrarian reform beneficiaries.
The distributed landholdings cover the four provinces of Region XII, namely: North Cotabato, Sarangani, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat, according to Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John Castriciones.
He said the land distribution here is “the biggest in the history of comprehensive agrarian reform program” in the country. Some of these areas are also part of the newly-established Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
DAR is one of the partner government agencies under the PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA), which OPAPP oversees.
PAMANA is the national government’s convergence program that extends development interventions to isolated, hard-to-reach and conflict-affected communities, ensuring that they are not left behind.
OPAPP will help DAR by providing PAMANA, capacitation and livelihood projects to the farmer beneficiaries in vulnerable and conflict areas.