Reclassification of relocation sites eyed

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Monday, April 14, 2014


PRESIDENTIAL Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) Chief Panfilo Lacson said he will recommend that President Benigno Aquino III reclassify relocation sites for typhoon Yolanda survivors in the islands of Bantayan and Camotes, Cebu.

The relocation sites for survivors have to be purchased by the local government unit (LGU). The Commission on Audit (COA) requires LGUs to purchase only titled properties.

Bantayan Island was declared a wilderness area through Presidential Proclamation 2151, issued by then President Marcos in December 1981. The declaration covers 14,183.50 hectares in all three municipalities of Santa Fe, Bantayan, and Madridejos.

Camotes Island, on the other hand, was declared mangrove forest reserve by Marcos in 1980.

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Lots in Bantayan and Camotes cannot be privately owned or titled.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III said Lacson promised to find a solution to the problem.

Davide said that when Lacson visited Cebu last Friday, they also discussed the possibility of seeking an exemption to the COA requirement.

During the same visit, Lacson told Davide he will recommend that the president approves the Capitol’s rehabilitation program for northern Cebu.

Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, on the other hand, said Rep. Joseph “Ace” Durano (Cebu, fifth district) will re-file the bill seeking to reclassify Camotes as alienable and disposable.

The bill was initially filed by then congressman Ramon “Red” Durano VI, Ace’s brother, but it was not approved in Congress.

Magpale said the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority corrected that defect in the bill and Congressman Ace would re-file the corrected version.

Magpale said the Provincial Board can also pass a resolution asking the National Government to exempt Yolanda-affected areas from the COA requirement.

She said a nongovernment organization that wanted to help the resettlement of Yolanda survivors in Pilar, Camotes had reservations upon learning that the lots on the island were covered only by tax declarations.

A tax declaration is not proof of ownership of a real estate property. It merely indicates that the holder is paying taxes to the local government for use of the land.

Meanwhile, Davide said Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas will be in Cebu next week to visit Yolanda-affected areas.

Fifteen towns and Bogo City have been waiting for financial assistance from the Department of Interior and Local Government for the repair of government buildings.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 15, 2014.

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