Based on COA’s 2018 annual audit report on the CIAC, the state firm had disbursed last year a total of P7.362 million in financial grants to informal settlers who will be affected by the Clark Airport Expansion Project.
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Clark Airport in hot water for P7-million grant
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - September 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has directed the state-run Clark International Airport Corp. to explain the “excessive” grant of financial assistance to informal settlers occupying the CIAC complex in connection with their supposed relocation.

Based on COA’s 2018 annual audit report on the CIAC, the state firm had disbursed last year a total of P7.362 million in financial grants to informal settlers who will be affected by the Clark Airport Expansion Project.

The informal settlers who received the financial grants were occupying 381.96 hectares out of the 2,367-hectare total land area of the Clark Civil Aviation Complex (CCAC).

The audit body said that aside from being “excessive,” the financial assistance was also granted “without legal basis” or any supporting documents.

COA said the CIAC based the financial grant on the value of trees/crops planted as well as the structures built by the informal settlers. 

COA said this contravenes Article 449 of Republic Act 386 or the Civil Code of the Philippines, which states that “he who builds, plants or sows in bad faith on the land of another loses what is built, planted or sown without right to indemnity.”

“Assessment of the above-mentioned payments revealed that these are excessive within the purview of COA Circular 2012-003, and given that these informal settlers were illegal occupants having knowledge that the land which they encroached was government-owned,” the COA report read.

The audit body noted that even the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), in a letter dated Sept. 7, 2018, had advised the CIAC not to indemnify or compensate the informal settlers for the area of land they occupied or for the value of their structures or crops since they are “possessors in bad faith” of the property.

Instead, the OGCC advised CIAC to extend a modest amount of financial assistance to each informal settler family just enough “to aid them with their relocation.” 

COA said the OGCC even suggested that the computation of the financial grant be based on each head of the family’s prevailing minimum daily wage for 60 days.

Based on the audit body’s records, the financial grants extended by the CIAC ranged from P30,720 to P2.064 million per claimant.

COA’s breakdown showed that 66 percent or P4.892 million of total financial assistance was paid to just three claimants or informal settler families.

Worse, COA said no document was submitted to prove the residency or occupancy of the claimant-informal settlers such as electric bills and water bills, among others. 

“This fortifies that the informal settlers’ claims were questionable, aside from being not legitimate owners of the land occupied within the Clark Civil Aviation Complex,” the COA said.

COA said the audit team’s verification revealed that all of the informal settlers granted financial assistance were not residing within the airport complex but were using the property for their agricultural activities.

CLARK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT CORP. COMMISSION ON AUDIT
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