Thursday, March 25, 2010

Villar should not have sequestered land — Laguna settlers


Original Story:

Fearing that a Supreme Court (SC) decision to return to its owners a Palawan cattle ranch after it was sequestered 24 years ago may be a prelude to more reversals of sequestration orders, informal settlers at Paradise Park, San Pedro, Laguna, who occupy part of a parcel of land sequestered in 1988, held a picket yesterday at the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) grounds and called on the commission to “firmly enforce its mandate” and implement immediate action against opportunistic entities allegedly trying to grab the sequestered property.

The picketers, mostly members of the Paradise Park Neighborhood Association (PPNA), have expressed alarm over this possibility, as the PCGG has yet to act on securing the transfer of the San Pedro, Laguna property to the government.

The PPNA based its skepticism on a recent TV interview with PCGG Commissioner Tereso Javier where he confirmed that the Laguna property has not been sold and remains sequestered.

In the same interview, however, the group scored the PCGG’s response of “wondering about” claims that the property belongs to a private company owned by Nacionalista Party presidential candidate Sen. Manuel Villar as “anemic.”

The PCGG’s position at this point, said the PPNA, has become untenable because the high court has already upheld it as a sequestered property.

“This is why we are here in front of the PCGG offices. We are alarmed, because just recently, a sequestered property in Palawan has been ordered returned by the Supreme Court to its owner, who is a Marcos crony.

“We ask the PCGG, why was there a return of the sequestered land? Why did the PCGG not move at all, especially against the companies of Villar that have been grabbing our land? Will the PCGG also do the same, giving up the lands and hand these over to Villar and his companies?” said Gloria Barrameda, spokesman of the group.

One of the placards screamed, “PCGG, wake up!,” which, Barrameda said, is what the PCGG needs to do.

“It’s time for the PCGG to wake up. It is the agency that is mandated to hold on these sequestered properties. It’s time for the PCGG to stop its neglect of its duties. Why does the PCGG allow a landgrabber the property of the government?

“Why is it that Manny Villar’s Crown Asia is being allowed by the PCGG to post their security guards in a property owned by the government? What is stopping the PCGG from ordering the dismantling of the fences that Crown Asia put up and order the armed guards out of the area who keep on harassing us night and day?”, a visibly incensed Barrameda asserted.

Last March 8, Barrameda’s group conducted a protest-march against Villar and Crown Asia, which alleged to have in its possession a land title out of its negotiations with a certain Jose Nuñez. However, the PPNA said, the title was non-existent and accused the company of using dirty tactics.

The issue over the 2.18 property sprang in 2000 when Villar’s Crown Asia claimed ownership of the area. The settlers, who formed themselves into a neighborhood association to push the award and development of the area, disputed the claim.

In 2002, the Villar group started posting security guards and later ordered a demolition in the area. This resulted in the demolition of 30 houses and the death of PPNA leader Quirico “Pol” de los Santos. De los Santos’s death, up to this day, remains unsolved.

Since 2002, more or less 205 families have been walled inside the said property. They said it has not been easy to access basic services, forcing them to share one electricity source and buy expensive retailed water.

Armed guards regularly monitor the movements of the community members.

Residents also have not been allowed to bring in construction materials and have been prevented from doing simple house repairs.

There was even a time they had to climb the walls just to get in and out of the property until, eventually and in defiance, they tore down one side of the wall and negotiated a right of way with another privately owned property, the group alleged.

Barrameda said the PCGG should act now before the violent demolition incident in 2002 gets a repeat. The PCGG, she said, should already “take full control and possession of the Laguna property, as it is mandated to do so.”

She added that in taking full control of the property the PCGG should act to “nullify the Crown Asia-Nuñez title, order the removal from the property of Crown Asia-employed armed security guards whose presence alone seems to declare ownership of the said property, recognize the existence of the PPNA as present and actual occupants, and help facilitate access to basic facilities for the actual occupants.”

Original Story:

No comments:

Post a Comment