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Survey agreed for contested forest lot

CEBU, Philippines - The participants of the dialogue between the buyers and sellers of a parcel of land within the 504-hectare reforestation and rehabilitation project of retired PNP general Tiburcio Fusilero in Barangays Cantipla and Tabunan inside the Central Cebu Protected Landscape, agreed to conduct a thorough ground verification or relocation survey in coordination with the Cebu City government to delineate the meets and bounds of the area.

In a dialogue with 20 participants yesterday that was presided by Maximo Dichoso, executive director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the parties reached an agreement to undertake an inventory of the existing or actual occupants including structures or any developments introduced within the 504-reforestation project.

In a press statement furnished to The FREEMAN, Dichoso emphasized that the only legal instrument that they recognized is the Memorandum of Agreement issued to Fusilero under the Adopt-a-Mountain program which was granted last November 2000.

"We commend the effort of Mr. Fusilero in protecting and rehabilitating the remaining natural forest in Cebu City while we want to maintain peace and order within his area," the statement reads.

According to the statement, Betty Rivero-Abellana questioned the legality of the MOA since the acquisition of the said instrument did not follow certain requirements like public consultation and barangay council resolution.

Dichoso, however, replied that as far as the existing records on file with DENR-7, the instrument is valid and legal.

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He further said that he will seek a legal clarification to the DENR Central Office as soon as he receives a letter-request from Abellana.

Dichoso further said a land evaluation party will be constituted with the Cebu City government to re-evaluate and establish the boundary through a relocation survey inside Fusilero's area within this month.

The Central Cebu Protected Landscape under Republic Act No. 9486 which was approved on June 7, 2007 covers a consolidated area of 28,312 hectares consisting of the Buhisan Watershed Forest Reserve, Mananga Watershed Forest Reserve, Sudlon National Park, Central Cebu National Park and the Kotkot-Lusaran Watershed Forest Reserve located in the cities of Cebu, Talisay, Toledo and Danao, and in the municipalities of Minglanilla, Consolacion, Liloan, Compostela, and Balamban. – (FREEMAN)

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