Cotabato City (January 19, 2018) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DENR-ARMM) has started to survey lands in preparation for free distribution of land titles in conflict-affected towns in Maguindanao. The survey is also an important tool in settling land disputes in the province.
The P42-million ‘free land titling and survey’ project of the DENR-ARMM were formally launched on January 5 in Rajah Buayan, one of the 15 municipalities that will benefit from the project.
“Land dispute hinders development. This project will provide bigger opportunities for our people,” said Mayor Datu Zamzamin Ampatuan of Rajah Buayan. “This is the peoples’ hope for a fully secured land ownership,” he added, noting this is quite important for his municipality, which is reliant on farming.
DENR-ARMM Secretary Kahal Kedtag said the massive distribution of land titles will also help in combating poverty and stimulating progress and development in the province. The project is under the region’s Humanitarian Development and Assistance Program (HDAP), which is aimed at demarcating properties of landowners in the region.
HDAP is a project of the regional government under the Hataman administration that will implement various government initiatives, specifically relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction of both horizontal, in reference to school buildings, houses, and health centers, and vertical in reference to roads and bridges.
The project also covers livelihood programs that will promote peace and help the situation in calamity-affected communities specifically in 15 Maguindanao towns.
Secretary Kedtag said the distribution of free land titles is one of the priorities of the regional government to help lessen conflicts in Maguindanao, many of which are fueled by land disputes.
The project, he said, gained support from local government officials and their constituents. In 2016, the region granted a total of 1,800 hectares of lands to residents of the conflict-torn SPMS Box that include Shariff Aguak, Pagatin, Mamasapano, and Salibo. These areas are within the ‘SPMS box’, which is under the close watch of the military and is now being developed into productive areas.
The department is also gearing up to completely distribute the 4,500 hectares of land area to target barangays in the 15 target municipalities. “We want to give what is due for the people in the region,” Sec. Kedtag said. The strong partnership and efforts of the regional government and local government units, he said, will help make the project implementation successful.
Aside from free distribution of land titles, the department also focuses on environmental conservation and actions against climate change, solid waste management programs, greening projects such as plantation establishments, regular tree planting and nurturing activities, and continued implementation of ARMM’s Total Log Ban Act. (Bureau of Public Information)