OFFICIALS of the Mandaue City Government were involved in an argument after a group of security guards reportedly denied the entry of the public in the city-owned foreshore land beside the park situated under the Marcelo Fernan Bridge.

This was what lawyer John Eddu Ibañez, executive secretary of Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, said after they received reports that the general public, including fishermen, were prohibited to enter the area by the security guards who claimed the property as privately owned by their employer.

Ibañez said the unidentified men who were wearing uniforms similar to the security guards, could not present any document or even identify the private entity that ordered them to prevent the public from entering the two to three-hectare area.

Ibañez said he went to the area on Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 15, 2022, along with Councilor Andreo Ouano-Icalina to discuss and look for the basis of the armed men who had been securing the area for almost a month now.

The public, as well as the personnel from the Bantay Dagat, were allegedly threatened to get shot should they insist to enter the premises.

As of Wednesday, Feb. 16, Ibañez said about 30 security guards were stationed at the area, five of whom were armed men, but they were sent away after a series of explanations.

Ibañez noted that the land, two to three hectares, was part of the 131-hectare Mandaue City North Reclamation and Development Project, which is one of the proposed reclamation projects in Cebu approved by the Philippine Reclamation Area in October 2021.

Police and traffic personnel were deployed in the area to secure the people living in the land.

Ibañez said the mayor will be meeting with law enforcement agencies, particularly the National Bureau of Investigation and the police, to start the investigation on the private entity or entities that claimed ownership of the foreshore land.

A 62-year-old fisherman said this was the first incident he encountered for his around 20 years of stay near the area.

He further said about two or three security guards often roamed the area, and they have built two guard houses there.