Housing authority: P85M not P200M on reloc site payment

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Thursday, January 30, 2014


THE National Housing Authority in Northern Mindanao (NHA-10) denied accusations that it paid at least P200 million for the 42-hectare land intended as relocation site for the victims of 2011’s killer Tropical Storm Sendong.

This, after several farmers belonging to the Kamakawan Farmers and Landowners Association (Kafla) in Barangay Indahag claimed they were cheated by the landowner and the NHA by buying out the area at P200 million since “they are not the real owners and possessors of these lands.”

Engr. Judy A. Fernandez, NHA-10’s officer-in-charge, said the housing authority paid only P85 million and not P200 million for the 25-hectare housing project for the 2,415 families affected by Sendong.

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He said the 25-hectare land was priced at P350 per square meter.

Fernandez said the area, totaling 38 hectares, includes “the 13-hectare lot donated by the Roas, the owner,” to the government through the NHA-10.

The housing agency required the owner to donate portions of its lot before the buy-out.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Northern Mindanao (DENR-10) was given the authority to preserve the area.

Fernandez showed the deed of sale to this paper signed by the NHA’s general manager and a certain Yolanda Malferrari, which indicated that “they (farmers) have no chance of claiming the area as theirs.”

“Sa kadugay nila pakigbisog sa mga Roa miabot sa DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform) ug sa Solicitor General. Decided cases ‘ni siya, mao napalit namo kay documented naman siya tanan,” he said.

Fernandez said before the area was sold to the NHA, there were only 19 families verified as real occupants. But as negotiations went on, the number increased to 53 families.

“The 19 families have been awarded by the Roas with land after we have verified that they are the actual occupants. But the 34, I don’t know anything about it,” he said.

Fernandez said NHA officials, the land owner and representatives from the farmers group had a talk with Mayor Oscar Moreno this month, but the negotiation failed because the farmers insisted they really want to get the contested land back.

“Accordingly, it has been offered to the farmers that out of P350 per square meter price, P100 will be theirs. Where can you find such deal?” he said.

But Fernandez said it is likely that there would be another round of negotiations with the concerned parties, “I just don’t know when.”

“They (farmers) could no longer claim because the area has been purchased. The NHA has paid 30 per cent of the total amount to the owner,” he added.

He said the area was proposed by 2nd district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez as the relocation site.

The farmers have threatened that they would really fight for their rights. “Over our dead bodies,” the group said.

But Fernandez said the claimants should go through the legal process, adding they can even become beneficiaries of the housing project, but they would still be subjected to verification.

“If I were to decide, I want all of them to become beneficiaries,” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 30, 2014.

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