The Duterte administration will continue to push for genuine land reform and address long-standing concerns of farmers and indigenous peoples, acting presidential spokesman Martin Andanar said.
Andanar issued the statement days after presidential candidate Ka Leody de Guzman survived a shooting incident in Bukidnon Tuesday where he was discussing alleged land grabbing cases with members of the Manobo-Pulangiyon tribe.
De Guzman called on the government to address the problem of land grabbing which he said has led to mass exodus of IPs from their ancestral lands.
“President Rodrigo Duterte remains committed to delivering genuine agrarian reform in the country,” Andanar said in a press statement.
Citing government data, Andanar said the administration distributed 229,289 hectares of agricultural lands from July 2016 to May 2021, benefitting 166,217 agrarian reform beneficiaries.
He said the government also issued 57 Certificates of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADTs), covering 993,345.17 hectares of ancestral domain, which benefited 257,047 indigenous peoples from 2016 to June 2021.
“We assure our people, including Ka Leody de Guzman, that our efforts to provide lands to landless farmers will continue until the end of the President’s term,” Andanar said.
De Guzman said he will press charges against those behind the shooting, which left five people injured, including four members of the IP group.
Philippine National Police chief Dionardo Carlos said it was “premature” to say that the shooting was election-related.
“During the initial investigation, the guard fired because there was a group of people who wanted to enter a place and he could not stop them. He fired a warning shot, unfortunately someone was hit. We do not yet have an indicator or indication that would say that this is connected with the election,” Carlos said. Malacañang has condemned the incident and called for a thorough investigation.
“Violence has no place in any civilized society and we condemn the incident in Bukidnon where gunshots were allegedly fired against the camp of Ka Leody de Guzman,” Andanar said.