FARMERS from Laguindingan town who were affected by the establishment of the Laguindingan airport will soon be receiving their disturbance compensation, Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Emano said Monday, January 22.
Emano said what is lacking now is only the computation of what is due to the farmers, which is still on process after winning the case in the Supreme Court.
“But since the concerned National Government agencies delay the transaction, we, the Provincial Government, through our legal office, initiated a meeting with the affected farmers and families and the land owner to hasten the release of their payment,” Emano said.
According to Provincial Legal Officer Cecilio Neil Pacana, the total disturbance compensation, as computed by the Department of Agriculture (DA), will be the amount of crops harvested within a year, prior to the implementation of the airport, multiplied by five years.
Each farmer will then receive their compensation based on the total land area where they worked on before, Pacana added.
Pacana said the computation was decided after the farmers protested on how little amount of the compensation they were supposed to receive.
"Ang decision ng Daram noon, maliit lang ang compensation so inakyat ng mga farmers sa court of appeals, iniba ang decision ng Daram (The decision of the Daram before, the compensation the farmers will receive is only a small amount so the farmers passed the case to the Court of Appeals, and the decision was changed)," Pacana said, adding that the compensation as decided by the Daram amounted to less than P100,000.
The provincial legal officer said the Ayala Corporation, prior to the change in computation, offered the affected farmers house and lot together with the P100,000 compensation.
Out of the estimated 403 farmers affected, only half of them accepted Ayala's offer, while the other half worked on passing the case to the Court of Appeals.
Pacana said that after the decision was changed, the Laguindingan farmers will be able to receive more than P500,000, based on the computation of the DA, although the amount each of the farmers will receive will still be based on their land area, as some farmers tended only a half hectare or less while the others tended more than a hectare.
Pacana said they are hopeful that within this year, the displaced Laguindingan farmers will be able to acquire their disturbance compensation as the amount each of the farmers will be receiving is still on process and they are still identifying the claimant of the money.
The more than 20-year issue, according to the provincial legal officer, started on the late 1990s when the National Government "wanted to take the property to relocate the airport of Cagayan de Oro from Lumbia to Laguindingan."
Pacana said there was an agreement "that the property or the owner that might be affected by the construction should be given a disturbance fee."
"It so happen that these properties were already bought by the one of Ayala's holding companies wherein these farmers, there are only working in Ayala ownership, so parang pinagbigyan lang sila ng (it's like they were given the) right over the property," Pacana said.
He added that when the Ayala agreed with the National Government to have part of the area, which was more than 600 hectares, covered by the construction of the airport, there was an agreement that the farmers or the tenants of the properties that will be affected will be paid with disturbance compensation.
Emano, for his part, said the airport project was originally planned by former Cagayan de Oro City mayor Vicente Emano.
“I was then congressman who pushed for the budget. Unfortunately, because of politics, they didn’t even invite me during the inauguration of the airport,” Emano said.
The governor said he pitied the farmers and their families for the long overdue negotiation with the land owner where the airport is located, adding that he was dismayed that the previous administration was not able to attend to the problem.