Raffy Tulfo Questions Cynthia Villar for Making Farmers’ Land Into Subdivisions
Senator Raffy Tulfo questioned Senator Cynthia Villar for allegedly buying farmers’ land to make it into subdivisions.
During the plenary debates held on the 2023 budget of the Department of Agriculture, the two senators became irate about the topic of turning farmland into residential subdivisions and commercial areas (DA). Tulfo questioned what the DA was doing to alleviate the country’s decreasing amount of agriculture.
Senator Raffy Tulfo’s condemnation of the tactics some developers use to extort fields from farmers for subdivision prompted Senator Cynthia Villar to respond. According to Tulfo, the Philippines’ arable land is becoming scarcer as a result of developer purchases.
“Lumiliit po nang lumiliit ang ating farmland. Binibibli po ng malalaking developer at ginagawang residential at commercial land. Ano po ang ginagawa ng DA (Department of Agriculture) tungkol dito?” asked Tulfo.
This is where the senator entered the picture, whose family are well-known as the owners of one of the biggest Philippine developers, Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc. Villar denied that they were acquiring provincial farms, based on the video of their debate.
She claims that they exclusively buy land in urban areas and that they also assist struggling farmers by purchasing their land. No one will buy hoses on agricultural grounds, she said, adding that their company does not purchase agricultural land in the provinces.
“We only buy in cities and capital towns because the buyers of houses, they also want an opportunity that if they’re having financial problems, they can resell their houses. It’s very hard to resell houses, not in cities or capital towns. So we limit ourselves [to] cities and capital towns,” she added.
VIllar insisted that it was the decision of the landowners to sell their farm and it was not forced.
“It’s an investment decision… You have to understand agriculture as a business also. Where will the people live if you don’t build subdivisions,” she said.
“’Yung sinasabi na huwag i-convert ang farmland para magtayo ng bahay at ng factory, mali ’yun. We need to build small homes for Filipinos para hindi naman sila squatter, and we need to build factories para may trabaho… Bakit ipagbabawal ’yun, importante din ’yun sa ekonomiya,” explained the senator.
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