Amid the threats of President Rodrigo Duterte to fire or kill Department of Agrarian Reform officials over delay in the processing of land conversion cases, Secretary John Castriciones on Wednesday thanked officials and employees for being able to accomplish the agency’s targets for 2018.
In a statement, Castriciones said DAR had distributed 60,000 hectares of land through emancipation patents (EPs) and certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs).
“We will be able to achieve more, we will be able to distribute more,” he said.
According to Castriciones, an assessment and planning conference was being conducted from Jan. 22 to Jan. 25 in Iloilo City to analyze the previous year’s sectorial performance on land tenure security program, agrarian justice delivery program and agrarian reform beneficiaries development and sustainability program vis-à-vis its approved targets and fund utilization.
He challenged the DAR officials and employees to assess the status of the lands that had been awarded to farmer-beneficiaries.
In a speech during the annual assembly of the Provincial Union of Leaders Against Illegalities in Lucena City, Duterte said he had fired two DAR officials after it took them two years to process a case of land conversion.
“I keep on giving warnings but you do it again and again,” he said in his speech in Filipino.
Thje President recalled it took the DAR’s office two years to process a request for land conversion after a follow-up from his former Special Assistant.
The President said the Agrarian Reform officials should “better prepare,” or else, they would face either “complaint” or “death” if they do not make any progress.
He added, still in Filipino: “If people from the conversion office of DAR are listening, better prepare because you’re fired. If you can’t do it, I’ll file a case against you. If you’re not afraid with the filing of the case, I’ll just kill you.”