Monday, November 18, 2013
PANTABANGAN, Nueva Ecija – A member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) insisted that 7,000 hectares of lands in this town which are being claimed by a municipality of Nueva Vizcaya actually belong to Nueva Ecija even as he sought the conduct of a counter cadastral survey by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to settle the score between the two local governments.
“From the very start, we know the metes and bounds of the
The 7,000 hectares being claimed by Castañeda are not theirs. It’s ours,” said
Board Member Joseph Ortiz. municipality of Pantabangan
Ortiz, who represents this town and a number of cities and towns in the SP, said Gov. Aurelio Umali was right in asserting the province’s territorial claims on the disputed area.
He said a counter survey may even help establish whether certain portions of Alfonso Castañeda actually belong to Pantabangan, instead of the other way around.
Ortiz was reacting to the territorial claims made by the local government of Castañeda to portions of this town. The controversy prompted Umali to ask the SP to investigate the territorial claims, which could drastically reduce the land area of the province and its share in the internal revenue allotment (IRA) of the national government.
Umali, in a letter to SP presiding officer, Vice Gov. Jose Gay Padiernos and the provincial board members, expressed concern over the claims of the municipal government of Castañeda as reflected in a cadastral survey conducted by the DENR in Region 2.
Pantabangan assistant municipal assessor Francisco Pineda informed Umali about the SCSO survey which supposedly showed the territorial boundary of this town shrunk by 7,000 hectares.
The areas claimed by Castañeda include lands where the American proponent of the giant Casecnan Dam are located where the Nueva Ecija provincial government collects huge real property taxes.
Mayor Lucio Uera, in an earlier letter to Umali complained that the municipality of Castañeda has been illegally encroaching in the town as shown by the cadastral survey “unilaterally conducted” by the DENR in Region 2.
The Sangguniang Bayan of this town, led by Vice Mayor Ruben Huerta and 10 municipal councilors passed a resolution registering strong opposition to the cadastral survey conducted by SCSO.
The SB, in its resolution, found the acts executed by the DENR Region 2 office as contrary to law because representatives of this town were not formally notified in writing by Region 2 about the survey and thus, it was done unilaterally. It added that during the time the survey was conducted, no representative from the DENR in Region 3 was present either.
Ortiz said the SP would convene soon to launch the probe on Castañeda’s claims. He said they would summon the provincial assessor of Nueva Ecija and officials of the Bureau of Lands in
Central Luzon to shed
light on the issue.
Ortiz said that historically, the 7,000 hectares being claimed by Castañeda belong to Pantabangan, including Castañeda itself which used to be only a barrio of this town.
He said the first barangay chairman in Castañeda was from Nueva Ecija who also later became its municipal mayor.
He also lamented that Castañeda’s territorial claims came while there is an on-going “pocket land dispute” between barangays Villarica and San Juan in this town.
Ortiz said what should have been done is for the DENR in
Luzon to undertake a similar cadastral survey.
“For all we know, a parallel survey may establish that certain parcels of land in Castañeda actually belong to Nueva Ecija,” he said. (Manny Galvez)
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