MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved measures that seek to fast-track the distribution of land to former rebels, a key component of the government's peace and development effort.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recommended four measures that would speed up the giving of lands to rebel returnees during Monday's Cabinet meeting at Malacañang.
"We want to hasten the distribution (of the land) because we know that it plays a huge role in our peace efforts," Nograles said.
The DAR proposed that the military and the police provide security measures in government-owned land located in critical areas.
The agency also recommended the creation of an inter-agency task force for the relocation of rebel returnees in other regions or provinces with available government-owned lands. The department likewise cited the need for agencies to identify idle government-owned lands for distribution to former insurgents and to implement a whole-of-nation approach to enhance the livelihood support projects for rebel returnees.
Citing a report by the DAR, Nograles said progress has been made in the distribution of a total of 6,406.6 hectares of land in the Cagayan Valley, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, and Davao regions.
"For perspective, this is an area larger than the size of the City of Manila, which has an area of 4,288 hectares," Nograles said.
Earlier this month, Duterte signed four proclamations granting amnesty to members of the Moro National Liberation Front, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Mangagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade and the armed communist movement.
The president said the grant of amnesty would “promote an atmosphere conducive to the attainment of a just, comprehensive, and enduring equanimity.”
The amnesty proclamations, which cover crimes committed in pursuit of political beliefs, will take effect upon concurrence by Congress.