PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte assured agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in Western Visayas that land reform will continue under his administration.
"I will continue implementing land reform," he said in his speech during the ceremonial distribution of certicates of land ownership award (Cloas) at the Cabatuan Gymnasium in Cabatuan town, Iloilo yesterday, June 20.
The activity is one of the highlights of the 30th anniversary celebration of the implementation of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in the country.
Responding to the message of one ARB, the president said farmer-beneficiaries need not thank him for distributing the lands.
"You do not have to thank me, you owe me nothing," he said, adding that "I am just doing my job as a government worker."
The president, along with Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones and Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr., led the distribution of almost 2,698 hectares of CARP land in the region.
Of the total area distributed, the biggest is in Negros Occidental totaling to 1,490 hectares.
About 1,066 hectares were distributed for 900 ARBs in the northern portion of Negros Occidental represented by Elmer Adio.
Samson Solis, representing 556 ARBs in the southern part of the province, received the Cloas covering about 483 hectares.
For other provinces, the President turned over 94.8808 hectares for Aklan, 141.9188 hectares for Antique, 501,7839 hectares for Capiz, 177.9977 for Guimaras, and 231.3711 hectares for Iloilo.
Speaking before the ARBs, Duterte asked "sino ang NPA (New People's Army) dito? Raise your hand."
He said there are many members of the rebel group in the region, who keep on transferring places like Capiz and Aklan.
"You better stop it. I am offering land reform. I am doing it."
Duterte said the government is giving rebel returnees land for their houses.
He continued: "I can build an NHA (National Housing Authority) cottage for you. Just surrender, I will give you a salary. What else do you want?"
The president, however, made an assurance that with or without the presence of communist groups he will continue implementing land reform.
"There is a law. My order is just to implement it without any further words," Duterte stressed.