When Duterte said he will implement land reform in Boracay after the six-month rehabilitation period, critics made fun of the President.
President Rodrigo Duterte said he would declare Boaracay as a land reform area after its six-month rehabilitation period.
Posted by INQUIRER.net on Monday, April 9, 2018
But critics, before you make fun of President Duterte, Boracay is indeed classified agricultural land.
If the President Duterte wishes to give the lands to the original settlers, it his prerogative.
Is the president correct? Let us read what international lawyer Paula Defensor Knack has to say on the issue.
Knack stated that business owners in Boracay have no right to ask for due process if indeed Boracay is still classified as “inalienable public land” or non-transferable.
“The due process argument DOES NOT APPLY TO THE BORACAY CASE if its classification is still “inalienable public land”. Read the law that created the DENR and the Constitution. The occupants are aware of this, BUT THEY PLAY DUMB because they make money from the island. The taxes they pay is for agricultural land which is a few pesos per hectare, but what they earn is dollars from tourists.”
In other words, if you are a business owner in Boracay and said the Duterte government has no right to take away your land because you purchased it from a local resident, then sorry for you.
“If government never declared the land as “alienable land”, all titles there are illegal since it is classified as agricultural-forest land. IT CANNOT BE TRANSFERRED TO PRIVATE OWNERSHIP OR SUBJECTED TO PRIVATE USE.”
In case a businessman disputes Duterte’s order, Knack said, DENR’s LAND CLASSIFICATION MAP prevails.
“In case of dispute, the LAND CLASSIFICATION MAP OF THE DENR prevails because it is the origin of ALL LAND USE MAPS.”
And to those pointing their fingers at the govermment for not taking care of the drainage in Boracay, Knack has a short retort.
“If the titles are illegal, WHY WOULD THEY BLAME GOVERNMENT FOR NOT PUTTING UP A DRAINAGE FOR THEIR BUSINESSES AND ILLEGAL SETTLEMENTS?”
On sole authority to reclassify land from inalienable public land to alienable land? Knack said the DENR holds that power.
“The DENR has sole authority to “reclassify land” from public land to alienable public land. Without the release of the DENR into “alienable land”, not even the DILG can reclassify the land. It has to be released by the DENR first INTO “ALIENABLE PUBLIC LAND”. Then the DILG can reclassify it under the Local Government Code together with the HLURB in the provincial, city, and municipal maps.”
“What does agricultural and forest land MEAN ANYWAY?” Knack asked.
“It is public land! If it is not declared alienable, then no private nor juridical person can own anything within the area classified as AGRICULTURAL-FOREST. It is “no touch” area because it was never declared alienable by the DENR,” Knack answered.
On Lina law, Knack offered some unflattering words for the said law.
“The Lina Law applies to land already declared “alienable” by the DENR. This was an issue before in the ejection of squatters in Quezon City. For me, the Lina Law is one of the most stupid laws ever ! :Why would you give squatters any right ? NO right can rise from illegal occupation ! At any rate, the Lina Law does not apply to inalienable public land. It remains under the ownership and jurisdiction of the DENR (under the law that created it).”
Kumita na kayo, sinira nyo pa.
Before ending the post, Knack wants the government to promote ecotourism in Boracay managed either by DENR or DOTC to control the number of visitors entering the island so as not to disrupt the islands ecological balance.
“What government can do is promote ECOTOURISM there, under the management of the DENR or the DOTC so that the number of people who will visit the island can be CONTROLLED and MONITORED in accordance with the island’s environmental “carrying capacity” so as not to destroy the ecology of the island. The current situation IS NOT SUSTAINABLE.”
Source: Paul Knack