THE sun shone on some 40 informal settlers (IS) reflecting the happiness etched on their faces when they received the Certificates of Land Awards (CLA) from a private company on Monday March 1, in Mabalacat, Pampanga.
The awarding rites were held at the barangay hall of Bgy. Mawaque, Mabalacat and presided over by Michael Jansen ‘Miko’ Abella, president of Excelsum Properties Solutions, Inc. EPSI, the agency that negotiated for the “recovery” of the real property estate for its rightful owner, Fiesta Communities and Hausland Development Corporation (Hausland).
The relocation sites located in Bgys. Mawaque and Mabiga are now equipped with four deep wells for the utilization of the new residents. They were also provided with meager financial assistance amounting to P30k for each household. The IS used to occupy a 400-hectare, another property of Hausland, for over three decades.
“Ina-assure po namin na itong lupa ay magiging sa inyo na. Inaayos na po namin ang documentation para mailipat na sa inyong pangalan,” Abella announced, adding that the IS won’t pay anything, not even a cent. “Inyong-inyo na po ito. Huwag naman po ninyong ibenta kaagad,” he said in jest.
As amenities, EPSI would also build a multi-purpose hall, an access road and right of way. The resettlement area would appear like a private subdivision, according to Abella. The 36-square meter lots will be assigned accordingly based on drawn lots “to be fair.” Leaders will be assigned to initiate the move.
The IS were given 30 days to work on building their houses. “They could build any structure that would indicate their ownership of the lot,” Jude Almar Salvosa, EPSI’s construction negotiator, said.
Only recently, some 176 IS were earlier relocated in Sitios Mamakita and Baler, also in the jurisdiction of Mabalacat.
Meanwhile, Patrick Fiel Sacay, executive assistant to Mabalacat Mayor Crisostomo Garbo, who was present both in the earlier awarding of CLAs, said it’s the advocacy of the local government units (LGUs) to eradicate Mabalacat of illegal settlers or IS in 2022. “So far, all the public lands here have already been utilized,” Sacay said.
Giving the “awardees” livelihood projects as sources of income is already in the pipeline of the local government units or LGUs.
Sacay confided that some 50 more IS are about to receive their CLAs because of “misinformation.”
“May balita kasing hindi daw totoo itong ipinamimigay na lupa. Nagdi-demolish pa nga raw kami,” he divulged. This is contrary to reality because he said, it’s the residents themselves who demolished their houses to transfer to the relocation sites.
Abella stressed that they don’t resort to violence in “evicting” IS from titled properties owned by other private citizens. “In the art of negotiation, it is important that you know, who you are negotiating with and what they want,” he said. In setting up conditions, they usually meet halfway. “If we feel that what they’re asking for is below the belt, then we say ‘no.’”
“EPSI does consultancy, land conversions, reclassifications or all issues that a landowner may have with regard to properties. One of our services is asset recovery and protection, katulad nito ‘yon,” EPSI’s project manager, Renard ‘Bam’ Masongsong earlier explained in a separate interview. “Besides, this is a titled property, the owner pays taxes and not benefitting from it.”
Further, Abella said that regardless of the length of stay in a titled property belonging to others, the latter have the right to recover.