UP owns property now in dispute: Capitol-A A +A
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
FAMILIES occupying lots that the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu wants to recover challenged the state university to show proof that it is the rightful owner of the property and has the right to evict them.
But the deed of donation shows the Provincial Government donated five parcels of land, or about 14 hectares, to UP 50 years ago.
“According to Mr. Entera (provincial real estate administrator Paul Entera), it still remains UP’s property,” said Gov. Hilario Davide III, who showed reporters the deed of donation yesterday.
UP wants to put up a new high school building in its Lahug, Cebu City campus, but has to deal with occupants who have vowed to stay put.
Lawyer Dominador Cafe, president of the Lahug Central Homeowners’ Association (LACHOA), said the more than 1,000 families residing in the property will consider relocating only if UP establishes it is the rightful owner of the lot.
He said he and former Lahug Barangay Captain Mary Ann de los Santos have long asked UP to present proof that they own the 18-hectare parcel of land, but university officials failed to present documents.
50 years ago
“We have to resolve the issues first. They have to prove that they own the property… Relocation is our second option but before that, UP has to prove that it has the right to evict us. If they have the right, then let’s talk about relocation,” Café told Sun.Star Cebu.
The deed of donation was signed in 1963 by then governor Francisco Remotigue and Dr. Carlos P. Romulo, who served as president of UP at that time.
Aside from the lot, a two-storey building known as the Cebu Junior College was also donated by the Province of Cebu to the state university.
Under the donation terms, the property shall revert to the Province once UP decided to close the Cebu Junior College.
But in an interview, Governor Davide said the deed of donation remains in effect. He checked with Entera and learned that the main building right behind the Oblation used to be the site of the Cebu Junior College.
The property, Davide also said, is titled in the name of UP.
‘Make it viable’
He plans to visit and talk to the UP Cebu dean, lawyer Liza Corro, regarding the matter.
The governor said he is also concerned about the relocation of the residents, since he knows that most of them have been living in the area for 50 to 60 years.
Interviewed separately, Cafe said the relocation plan should be viable, and the site should have the basic necessities like roads, power and water supply.
Until UP can prove that it owns the lot, Café said their position is to ask the Cebu Provincial Government to recover the property from UP.
Another option they would consider is to acquire the property from the Province through a socialized housing project.
UP Associate Dean for Administration Karl Roque Jr. earlier said they are discussing the relocation of families with the City Government and the Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor.
But in a separate interview yesterday, Cebu City’s Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor Chief Collin Rosell said the City does not have a relocation site that can accommodate the 1,000 families that stand to be affected by UP’s new high school building project.
He said that if UP is in a hurry to evict the occupants, it should include the relocation of the families in its project.
“We’ve had initial discussions with UP officials and initially, they thought the City will provide the relocation site… They also understand that as the project proponent, it would be best if they include the relocation in their project. Kinahanglan apil na sa ilang program,” Rosell said.
UP officials have put up billboards notifying the lot occupants of their expansion project, and that they would have to vacate the property within a year.
But Cafe said the homeowners will not vacate the lot because as far as they are concerned, UP no longer owns it.
They believe that the ownership reverted to the Province since the basis for the donation of the property no longer exists.
He cited the Deed of Donation signed by then UP president Roberto Romulo and then governor Francisco Remotigue, which he said states that the Province retains ownership of the lot if UP decides to close the Cebu Junior College, which was the reason the Province donated the property to UP.
Earlier, the Lahug Central Homeowners’ Association asked the Capitol to take back the property from UP since the Cebu Junior College no longer exists.
Donation documents indicated that the Cebu Junior College was located on the first lot or Lot 911-B-2-A, which has 50,002 square meters.
The second lot is 911-B-2-B (13,805 sq.m.) and the third lot is 911-B-2-C-2-A (1,312 sq.m.).
Lot 911-B-2-C-2-B is the fourth parcel, with an area of 48,790 sq.m. and Lot 911-B-2-C-2-E, the fifth lot, spans 26,170 sq.m.
Cafe said they are still waiting for UP to schedule another dialogue to find out what the university’s plans are for the lot occupants.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 04, 2013.