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Lapus denies co-authoring Mabalacat cityhood bill

() - July 13, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Rep. Jeci Lapus yesterday denied reports that accused him of “negligently abandoning” the third district of Tarlac by co-authoring House Bill 2509/4736 seeking the conversion of Mabalacat town in Pampanga into a component city.

Tarlac provincial board members made the accusation as they who opposed the bill’s passage since there is still a pending boundary dispute between the Tarlac town of Bamban and Mabalacat.

In a statement to The STAR, Lapus said he never co-authored the House bill and that even on the official website of Congress, one would see an official listing of all the measures he co-authored.

“HB 2509/4736 was never included. But the provincial board officials did not even bother to check the information before they made baseless allegations,” he said.

Lapus said that while the bill was pending, his office requested the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to have the disputed portion resurveyed.

“We found out that only 8,318 hectares was included as the land area certified by Land Management Bureau for the municipality of Mabalacat,” he said.

Lapus added: “The disputed 6,000 hectares was not clearly established. Hence, we requested that the political boundary map issued to Mabalacat be retracted.”

Lapus said he then ensured that his district will not be prejudiced by the cityhood, stating that a provision in Section 2 of the bill’s House version was included to protect his district on the pending territorial dispute.

As stated in the last paragraph of the section (line 22-28), the “foregoing provision shall be without prejudice to the resolution by the appropriate agency or forum of any boundary dispute or case involving questions of territorial jurisdiction between Mabalacat City and the adjoining local government units; Provided: That the territorial jurisdiction of the disputed area or areas shall remain with the local government unit which has existing administrative supervision over said area or areas until final resolution of the case.”

Lapus said a third reading copy of HB 4736 was given to Bamban officials.

BAMBAN AND MABALACAT BILL DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES HOUSE BILL JECI LAPUS LAND MANAGEMENT BUREAU LAPUS MABALACAT MABALACAT CITY PAMPANGA TARLAC
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