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Ad hoc committee to settle lot conflict

() - September 12, 2009 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City Councilor Edgardo Labella has recommended for the creation of an ad hoc committee to resolve the conflict between retired police general Tiburcio Fusilero and some farmers of government-owned lots in the city’s four mountain barangays.

Labella stressed that the ad hoc committee may provide the proper forum for the concerned farmers to air out their concerns on their rights over lands, and on the authority of those mandated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to keep the forests and timberlands protected.

The north district councilor is afraid that if the ongoing conflict between Fusilero and the farmers will not be settled immediately, it might trigger more problems.

In his proposed resolution to be discussed during the City Council’s session on Wednesday, Labella said that the members of the ad hoc committee will be tasked to conduct an “exhaustive fact-finding inquiry into the conflict.”

The farmers have admitted that the government owns the lots they are tilling, but that Fusilero should not prohibit them from continually tilling their farms.

Fusilero was authorized by the DENR to conduct reforestation projects covering 500 hectares of government lands situated in barangays Tabunan, Taptap, Buot-Taup and Mabini.

The committee would also be tasked to investigate on why some persons were able to secure declarations of the lots they have tilled, and on the alleged sale of several lots that are declared as timberlands or protected watershed areas when these properties are clearly not alienable and not disposable.

Labella said that because these properties are not alienable and disposable, there is a need to comprehensively and exhaustively investigate all controversies arising from claimed rights of residents and farmers versus alleged abuse of authorities in charge of protection programs of classified lands.

It was reported that there is a growing tension over issues on harassment and illegal cutting of trees by claimants of the timberlands in sitio Cantipla in barangay Tabunan. — Rene U. Borromeo/MEEV (THE FREEMAN)

BORROMEO BUOT-TAUP AND MABINI CANTIPLA CEBU CITY COUNCILOR EDGARDO LABELLA CITY COUNCIL DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES FUSILERO RENE U TABUNAN TAPTAP TIBURCIO FUSILERO
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