Boracay to become coconut producer under agrarian reform
MANILA, Philippines – The government is eyeing coconuts as the main crop produce of Boracay, once the island is subjected to agrarian reform.
“We talked to an agricultural engineer and based on the soil, coconut is the most conducive for Boracay,” Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Undersecretary David Erro said on Monday, June 4.
President Rodrigo Duterte once again reiterated that he wanted the entire island under land reform.
Erro said the agency wanted beneficiaries to provide a “steady supply” of goods.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, coconut is among the leading agricultural export products of the country, along with banana and pineapple.
As of 2016, the wholesale price of wholesale copra is at P25.59 per kilo on average, while mature nuts retail at P22.20.
The agency has already identified some 80 indigenous people (IPs) who are qualified to be land reform beneficiaries.
DAR has prepared a draft Executive Order that would be submitted to Duterte during the next Cabinet meeting on June 11.
The agency said agrarian reform in Boracay will be conducted in 3 phases. The first phase, which involves 25 hectares in barangays Yapak, Balabag, and Manoc Manoc, will be executed “immediately” since there are no structures in these areas.
Erro admitted that the remaining phases would be tricky, as these would involve demolition of many structures. Moreover, the land may no longer be fertile in those areas because of the structures built on top of it. (IN PHOTOS: Businesses 'dead' in Boracay)
To make the area conducive for agriculture again, the agency proposed to cover up the patches with some 3 feet of top soil.
Duterte previously said that a "strip" near the coastline may be allocated for commercial purposes, while at the same time insisting that the entire island be put under agrarian reform. (READ: You want commercial area in Boracay? Go to Congress)
To “reconcile” the statements of the President, Erro said that DAR is looking into allocating areas near the shoreline exclusively for tourism and commercial use.
“From the shoreline going inside Boracay, let's say a one kilometer radius. All establishments within that one kilometer will be maintained. The rest will be for agrarian reform,” Erro said.