THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has asked Mabalacat City officials to stop the illegal sale and squatting of a 13-hectare government property, which is previously a part of the Parua River in Barangay Tabun.
This was brought up during the city's Peace and Order Council meeting presided by Mayor Crisostomo Garbo.
In his letter to Garbo dated November 23, 2018, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) Officer-In-Charge Laudemer S. Salac requested for assistance in conducting an on-site investigation including census and tagging of the homeowners, lot owners, and individuals involved in the unauthorized construction build-up inside the property.
"The property is identified as the dried riverbed of what used to be the Parua River before the Mount Pinatubo eruption changed its course," Salac said.
The 13-hectare land was originally intended to be a relocation site of then mayor Marino "Boking" Morales, according to the environment officer.
"However, this project was suspended pursuant to DENR Memorandum dated January 26, 2012 through then Secretary Ramon Paje," he said.
DENR personnel inspected the site on November 15, 2018 and discovered that the lots are being bought and sold for an unspecified amount of money, Salac added.
The PENRO officer-in-charge said they sent a Cease and Desist Order addressed to Tabun Chairman Jerry P. Magsino to address the issue.
Salac said his office also posted signages to warn the public that the property is owned by the government under the supervision of DENR and all construction activities without the agency's knowledge are unauthorized and illegal.