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Rebel-returnees

THE government hopes to have long-lasting peace in the countryside, where majority of the poor live, before President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration ends at 12 noon on June 30 next year.

In fact, people want to believe the key to transforming the rural areas into flourishing communities is to address the decades-old communist insurgency problem in the Philippines.

Thus, we commend Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John Castriciones for pushing for the inclusion of rebel-returnees among the beneficiaries of the land reform program.

DAR records show there are still more than 500,000 hectares of agricultural lands under Republic Act (RA) No. 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law.

Likewise, another 230,000 hectares of government-owned lands are suitable for agriculture under Executive Order No. 75 of 2019, according to the DAR top honcho.

This is the legacy that President Rodrigo Duterte wanted to leave behind – the advancement of a long-lasting peace and order in the countryside,” said Castriciones.

Poverty-stricken farmers and fishermen comprise the bulk of the population in the countryside, which is being abandoned by residents due to lack of job opportunities.

The government, he said, is serious in winning the sympathy of the country’s landless farmers who, without doubt, are one of those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Certainly, the authorities want to bring back the remaining communist rebels to the folds of the law.

The government, through concerned offices and agencies, deserves the support of the public as it spreads the benefits of economic development right down to far-flung areas.