FIFTH District Board Member Alain Gatuslao said the P60-million downpayment made by the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental to the landowners of the properties in Talisay and Bacolod will form part of the deposit.
Gatuslao, chair of the committee on laws, rules, and ordinances of the Provincial Board, said the government is required to make a deposit of at least 15 percent of the total property value in favor of the owner of the property set to be expropriated.
“So based on the original property value of the two properties of P485 million, the Capitol will have to add P425 million more to the downpayment of P60 million,” he added.
Gatuslao said that he agrees with the opinion of Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson that “eminent domain is possible only when there is a disagreement.”
“That is correct. In fact, there was also an agreement during the committee hearing, but the owners later sent a rejection letter to the proposal of the Capitol to continue the purchase,” he said.
Gatuslao said that he understands the position of the vice governor.
Lacson had earlier said that while he respects the decision of the board, he “cannot defend” the ordinance that authorizes Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. to expropriate 65 hectares of private properties in the cities of Talisay and Bacolod.
“He needs to look at the overall situation. As chairman of the committee on laws, I am limited to presenting only the legality of the expropriation ordinance. The discretion to purchase or expropriate lies in the governor and the vice governor,” Gatuslao added.
The 25-hectare land worth P225 million in Barangay Matab-ang, Talisay City will be utilized for motorpool, government offices, and as possible site for the proposed Philippine Science High School in Negros Island Region.
The 40-hectare amounting to P260 million in Barangay Mansilingan, Bacolod City will be used for residential areas that will be swapped with those of Capitol workers who bought a portion of the province-owned property at the Panaad Park and Stadium, also in Mansilingan, and in Barangay Minoyan, Murcia town.