By Ellalyn de Vera-Ruiz
The government may place more than half of Boracay Island under agrarian reform based on the proclamation signed by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2006.
According to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonas Leones, the former president signed Proclamation 1084 classifying 40 percent of the 1,028-hectare Boracay island as forestland and 60 percent as agricultural land.
The Supreme Court in 2008 upheld the Proclamation but some Boracay Island stakeholders questioned the ruling and asserted rights over their properties.
Leones said the petition of the land claimants was junked, citing that no private entity can hold property in the world-renowned beach resort.
But Leones pointed out that Boracay residents cannot be evicted from their properties as they have land titles dated before June 12, 1945.
The interagency task force overseeing the rehabilitation of Boracay Island will now include the Department of Agrarian Reform to determine if the land in Boracay Island can still be used for agricultural purposes.
The proposal to turn Boracay into a land reform area was made by President Rodrigo Duterte over the weekend, following persistent questions regarding the planned building of $500-million integrated resort in the island.