The provincial Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is set to conduct a public consultation in Coron and Busuanga over the national government’s plan to distribute 1,000 hectares of alienable and disposable (A&D) lands at the Yulo King Ranch (YKR) to landless farmers.
Based on the audit of the DAR Central Office, YKR has an estimated 8,000 hectares of land that is currently being managed by the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Fedeleo De Guzman, agrarian reform officer I and information officer-designate of DAR-Palawan, told Palawan News on Monday that this consultation will gather the informal settlers, the concerned local government units, and the national agencies to discuss the matter.
Though there is no definite schedule yet, the consultation is part of the process prior to the implementation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s order for the distribution of government-owned lands, including YKR.
“Sa ngayon ay hindi pa alam kung DENR o DAR ang mag-i-implement, depende kung sino (agencies) ang uutusan. Kung CARP ito ay DAR ang magpapatupad, depende lang ito sa lalabas na order galing sa taas,” he said.
De Guzman explained that YKR is part of Busuanga and Coron, a large portion of which belongs to Busuanga town.
He said that years ago, a master plan of the entire YKR has been formulated by various agencies like DAR, DENR, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), Office of the President, Department of Agriculture (DA), and local government units concerned.
“Merong mga informal settlers doon at ang iba ay doon din naman nag-occupy sa mga areas na ineligible for distribution kasi timberland. Kung magsisimula na ang distribution ay pipiliin lang yung mga A & D, kung timberland pa ang karamihan nito,” he explained.
The YKR was among the properties sequestered by the Presidential Commission on Good Government and was transferred to the management of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).
In 2010, the Supreme Court lifted the sequestration of the YKR and former President Gloria Arroyo then issued Proclamation No. 2057, which authorized the Philippine Forest Corporation to manage the idle lands.
In 2013, Aquino, through Proclamation 663, transferred the administration of YKR, now referred to as Busuanga Pasture Reserve, to the Forest Management Bureau of the DENR.