Forest encroachers face eviction raps

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014


NEGROS Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said on Sunday that the Provincial Government will file eviction charges against the illegal occupants of the Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP) in Salvador Benedicto town.

“I have ordered an investigation to determine if the alleged illegal occupants are within or outside the natural park," Marañon said.

The governor issued the directive after the Task Force Ilahas (TFI) reported that about eight hectares of forest land at Spur 20 in Barangay Bunga, Salvador Benedicto, which is subject to reforestation by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), was allegedly sold to some individuals.

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The TFI is the environmental enforcement unit of the Provincial Government.

Marañon appealed to those who intend to buy land in the area to refrain from doing so because it is illegal, as the area is part of the protected area owned by the government.

He said that they are seeking clarification with the DENR regional director who allegedly issued permits to the buyers of said parcels of land.

"If it's true that the DENR issued permits to some buyers, then they should be the one answerable for violating the law," Marañon added.

The governor said they do not single out anybody pertaining to the matter after Mayor Andrew Montelibano of Murcia said it is unfair that he was identified in the TFI report as one of the buyers of the lots.

Some of the occupants of the NNNP have allegedly already secured land titles for the parcels of land they bought.

"Those who will proven within the natural park will face eviction," Marañon said.

In its report, TFI stated that the problem of illegal occupancy of forest land in Salvador Benedicto involves not only town residents, but also "influential personalities of the province, who had bought parcels of land, even in the absence of a tenurial instrument that will legitimize their ownership."

TFI recommended that “cohesive action should be undertaken by concerned agencies to stop the occupancy and construction of the structures, to show that government means business, and that there is no sacred cow in the campaign for environment protection.”

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 04, 2014.

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