Freeman Region

Lot owners seek just compensation

Ric V. Obedencio - The Freeman

PANGLAO, BOHOL, Philippines — Some lot owners are still crying for justice that they may be justly compensated of their landholdings, used as site for the construction of New Bohol Airport in this premier tourist town.

Pascasio “Casoy” Bonggot, 50, resident of Barangay Bolod of this town, in an exclusive interview with The FREEMAN, said his family feel being short-changed of the government’s scheme in acquiring his lot about two hectares, situated between Barangays Bolod and Lourdes.

Repeatedly saying he is not against the construction of the project, Bonggot said it seemed they’re being duped in what he called “exchange barter” of their ancestral lot which is unfair on their part. He claimed he’s not agreeable that if the barter system takes place some 300 square meter of every 1,000 sq.m. would go to the government and the remaining 700 sq.m. to them.

This means that if he owns some 20,000 sq.m. only 14,000 sq.m. would be swapped by government lot since the 6,000 sq.m. would go to the government, he said.

Another irritating kink is the price of lot acquisition. His wife, Justiniana Bonggot, 51, a barangay councilperson of Bolod, said that of the P60 per sq.m. being offered by the government, only P40 go to them and the P20 for retention, which they vehemently questioned.

Bonggot said that they’re not interested to be relocated in the site for affected families nearby since they’re only given 100 sq.m. to reside, an area that would not be enough for them because they used to grow crops and livestock in their backyard of the existing lot.

His apparent refusal to the “exchange barter” scheme earned his family a civil case thru expropriation proceedings, he said.

He said that after he received a writ of demolition — allegedly issued by Judge Suzeso Arcamo of the Regional Trial Court on August 5, 2016 — a demolition team came for what appeared to be the start of the demolition job of their house although it did not pusht hrough.

Another notice of demolition is expected to be served sometime early of next month and he will be given 30 days after that, said Bonggot, who is incidentally assisted by lawyer Tim Cabatos in the expropriation case.

Bonggot said he is not “hard-headed” and insisted that he only wanted to be justly compensated of his property where livestock, tall fruit trees grow for years, vegetables and deep well they are still depending on for water after their connection were cut off.

He said that through the said lot he is still cultivating he was able to send his five children to college and all successfully finished their studies.

Bonggot is the sixth among the seven children of his father’s second wife while three of his siblings from his first wife. He lamented that how he’d wish not to give up their property for sentimental reason but since the government needs it, so be it, but they should be paid rightly by equal size of their lands.

Asked if there’s another family who suffer the same fate, he said the Fuego family nearby is similarly situated.

Bonggot also claimed that if the government, referring to former Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), was able to compensate the task force members, who were able to acquire lands from the original owners, then “why can’t it do the same to him?”

He said that task force members, some of whom are allegedly prominent families in Tagbilaran City, have acquired lots from owners in the past and, “taking advantage of their positions,” later have these compensated under a barter with the government.

Earlier, the Commission on Audit has discovered that many lots acquired for the construction of much-hyped airport project have not been titled, in violation of section 148 of COA Circular 92-386 and section 111 of Presidential Decree 1445.

Despite these lots have long been acquired (from 2006-2014), “still 80 percent of the identified lots are without titles resulting in doubtful ownership, irregular payments and exposure to possible misuse,” COA said.

These (findings) were contained in annual audit report for the year ending December 31, 2015 thru cover letter dated June 27, 2016 to Governor Edgar Chatto from Alicia Malquisto, COA-Region 7 director.

Reports quoting the DOTr said the airport is due to be completed by mid 2018. The airport project amounting to P7.3 billion was conceived more than 20 years ago apparently to phase out the narrow and aging Tagbilaran City airport that can hardly accommodate bigger planes even as air traffic is increasing.

The airport — dubbed as New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project, considering its environmental aspect — is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and undertaken by contractor, Chiyoda-Mitsubishi Joint Venture.

The project has undergone changes with new airport complex is expected to have a two-story passenger terminal from one-story and its runway extended from 2,000 meters to 2,500 meters long. (FREEMAN)

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