The Department of Agrarian Reform will start the awarding of the military reservation Camp Keithley in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur to landless farmers in March under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
“They have waited long enough. This land is part of their ancestral domain. It should be returned to them. Let us do our best to distribute these lands to them this March,” Agrarian Reform Secretary Bernie Cruz said.
The distribution of idle government-owned lands (GOLs), like in Marawi, is a top priority in accordance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive under Executive Order No. 75 of 2019.
“The President believes that there were historical injustices inflicted against the Bangsamoro people, jeopardizing their legitimate birthright over their ancestral lands. And it is just right to indemnify them by distributing all government-owned lands to the rightful claimant to correct the historical offenses,” Cruz said.
He instructed the agency’s Field Operations Office and its Northern Mindanao regional office to immediately complete the survey activities at Camp Keithley in Marawi City, identify those who would be affected, and distribute the lands to the identified agrarian reform beneficiaries in the area.
The military reservation is composed of 6,667 hectares, and that based on EO 75 and after the initial survey of DAR, 4,000 hectares of land would be distributed to the qualified beneficiaries in Marawi, Marantao, Piagapo, and Saguiaran towns in Lanao del Sur.
Camp Keithley is a former military base of the United States of America that was built during the start of the Philippine-American War in the early part of the 20th century.
By virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 453 of former President Elpidio Quirino, the 6,667-hectare area was converted into a military reserve on Dec. 23, 1953.