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PIA Press Release
2008/02/15

Rizal town commits full support to solve Malapiat land dispute

Rizal, Kalinga (15 February) -- The Local Government Unit (LGU) here committed full support to the early resolution of the Malapiat land dispute assuring technical and financial assistance to the activities of Task Force Malapiat created to do the job under the amended executive order issued by Gov. Floydelia Diasen.

Rizal organized its own task force in July 2007 after the June 25 encounter between occupants of the disputed area with law enforcers where nine farmers were killed and 10 policemen wounded. Malapiat is the remaining unresolved area after an inter-agency task force successfully delineated and titled 30 of the 34 claims of plaintiffs/intervenors.

On the urging of Rizal LGU to continue convergence to coordinate activities of the provincial and municipal task forces, a merger executive order was issued with Gov. Diasen as Chairman and Mayor Chris Mark Dela Cruz as co-chair.

Municipal Administrator Marcelo Dela Cruz during a consultation and planning meeting at the Sangguniang Bayan Hall here last week said the LGU of Rizal is 100% supportive to the lasting solution of the remaining problem.

"This problem is within our LGU, so we want it eliminated once and for all. Whatever resources needed, the LGU is willing to shell out counterpart even in the form of fund allocation," Dela Cruz said.

He said some LGU efforts were carried out in their own capacity as the primary concern party and they worked well. "Two buyers of parcel of lots were paid back their money after discovering that what they bought was earlier sold," he said.

He said transactions went on blindly without proper documentation and presentation of requirements. "What complicated the problem is that certain lots were sold more than twice so claimants overlapped on their claims," the older Dela Cruz said adding that four are now fighting ownership - the intervenor, actual tiller, the buyer, and the 'squatter'.

On the other hand, Vice Mayor Renato Vicente threw his support to sustain convergence among sectors saying members of the Sangguniang Bayan will legislate the necessary policy agenda to attain the objectives of the task force.

"Peace and order is our primary agenda for this year, therefore, problems disrupting peace stability have to be achieved," he said adding that the Malapiat dispute has put us in the shame-map so we have to resolve it, by approving legislation to support financial appropriations for the program including payment of a Swede survey requested from DAR if it requires fee.

Meanwhile, Task Force Malapiat agreed to push through with its verification survey on lots within the disputed area here to delineate among claimants the remaining 176 hectares left in 2003 delineation, particularly that of intervenor Buenaventura Sarga.

The joint task force signed a resolution requesting the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for the immediate approval of the Swede survey, which land occupants want to be used.

It can be recalled occupants petitioned to stop surveyors in December last year as they desire to have the Swede instrument do the survey over the manual surveys.

Under the redefined objectives of the joint task force, arbitration committee chairman Atty. Francis Calsiyao of the Public Attorney Office said delineation will be based on the result of the Swede survey. "Intervenor claims that are not found by the Swede survey will be deleted and survey shall expand to unsurveyed lots," he said.

The action plan has been revised to integrate activities drawn from the respective plans of the two LGUs which are deemed necessary to carry out during the delineation.

The joint task force also agreed for occupant to establish proof of ownership in order to identify who is the intervenor, actual tiller, buyer and intruder. (PIA-Kalinga) [top]

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