The Daily Manila Shimbun


Duterte warns that idle lands will be taxed heavily

February 6, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte warned on Monday his administration would heavily tax idle lands as he vowed to continue with the land reform program.

Duterte made the warning when he led the harvest at the Hardin ng Lunas (Garden of Healing) - a "backyard" vegetable farming project of the Presidential Security Group and the Tarlac Heritage Foundation at the PSG Park across Malacanang Palace.

The Tarlac Heritage Foundation, in collaboration with the PSG, has transformed 628 square meters of idle land at the Malacanang Park into an organic vegetable garden that can be harvested within just 35 to 45 days after planting.

"Those vacant lots (whose owners) are just waiting for the speculation, waiting for the days when the price of their land will go up before using them, I will tax idle lands heavily," Duterte said.

He said the government would double or triple the real estate taxes "unless you are willing to lend it so somebody, to the barangay so that the people could use them."

Duterte said he welcomes a project like this where vacant lots are being used productively. "So I hope this will continue," he said.

The president said he "will continue with the land reform but modified."

He said the government would distribute lands in a small scale basis, such as one or two hectares.

He said he did not want to distribute lands which later will be abandoned by the beneficiaries just like what happened before.

"I'm just saving money. If I implement land reform, if I give you five hectares, I will support you all the way and buy your product," Duterte added.

Meanwhile, those harvested from the Hardin ng Lunas were donated to the nearby Hospicio De San Jose and less privileged communities near the Malacanang Palace, and also feed government personnel and the needy.

Among the vegetables harvested were kangkong, pechay, mustard, and okra which were planted on the garden plots last Dec. 23, 2016. Celerina Monte/DMS