PMA evicts illegal occupants
- Artemio Dumlao () - July 12, 2003 - 12:00am
BAGUIO CITY — The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) has started to evict illegal occupants of government quarters at Camp Allen here yesterday morning.

Backed by policemen, PMA personnel hauled the belongings of the illegal occupants to six-by-six trucks to show that the law will be implemented this time.

Maj. Edward Arevalo, PMA spokesman, said thousands of illegal occupants have deprived almost three dozen officers and more than a hundred military men, who are still in active service, of decent housing facilities.

Under the rules, a military officer occupying military quarters at the camp must vacate the facility 60 days after retiring from military service.

However, according to Lt. Col. Ramon Florece, commanding officer of the Headquarters Support Group, retired military and police officers and their caretakers have been occupying 22 military quarters at Camp Allen and have refused to leave.

Illegal permanent structures have also mushroomed inside the 14-hectare Camp Allen and the squatters are determined to stay put. Florece said squatters occupy about 90 percent of the camp.

Two retired brigadier generals, several colonels and even a town mayor are listed as occupants of 68 personnel quarters which, however, are now occupied by caretakers and are even rented out to civilians.

This, as military officers and personnel still on active duty are forced to rent apartments outside the camp or are forced to stay in available quarters which lamentably are dilapidated and measure no more than four square meters.

Lt. Col. Ernesto Cimatu, PMA chaplain and the most senior officer vying for the limited housing facilities, decried the presence of the illegal occupants, saying their "continued and unwarranted stay at Camp Allen willfully disregard our rights as PMA personnel, forcing us to pay rent with our meager pay or live with our families in shanties."

Maj. Gen. Edilberto Adan, PMA superintendent, acknowledged that the PMA cannot just look the other way and ignore the housing problem of its officers and men who are charged with the training and education of the country’s future military leaders.

The illegal occupants have been contesting the land title formerly awarded to the Philippine Constabulary Academy, now the PMA.

Florece said the PMA has the land titles of the academy, Camp Allen and Navy Base in its possession.

CAMP CAMP ALLEN CAMP ALLEN AND NAVY BASE EDILBERTO ADAN EDWARD AREVALO ERNESTO CIMATU FLORECE HEADQUARTERS SUPPORT GROUP MAJ MILITARY PMA
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