Land claim affects put up of MP drug rehabilitation center

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BAUKO, Mtn. Province– The supposed construction of the Regional Drug Rehabilitation Center in Bauko is on hold pending the settlement of a claim over the proposed site.

This was learned during the consultation conducted held at the municipal grounds in a bid to settle the impasse and get a go-signal for the procurement process.

The funds in the amount of P65 million has been provided for in this year’s General Appropriations Act (GAA) of the national government and is already at the regional office of the Department of Health.

“The construction works could be now be started but the land claim is affecting the process” said Atty. Veronica de Jesus, the representative of the regional office of the Department of Health to the consultation.

“We require the proof of ownership of the site”, she continued referring the site on where the Drug Rehabilitation Center facilities is to be constructed.

The Luis Hora Memorial Regional Hospital has in its name a 6.5 lot property within the vicinity of the hospital and is allotted as the site of the Drug Rehabilitation Facilities.

But a certain Salvador Bernadez has stake a claim of ownership over one (1) hectare of the said property of the hospital affecting now the ownership of the proposed site if the drug rehabilitation center.

In a letter to Provincial Assessor Marjorie Kiat-ong dated July 29, 2016, claimant through his lawyer, Atty. Sebastian Badongen, requested for the correction or rectification of the area of the Tax Declaration of the Luis Hora Memorial Regional Hospital (LHMRH) alleging that it overlapped with the Tax Declaration of Salvador Bernardez.

It was learned that the Tax Declaration of Bernardez was claimed to have been made way back in 1961 but it was noted by the technical people that the area was culled out from the approved lot plan of the DENR for the LHMRH.

During the consultation conducted on September 16, 2016 at the Municipal Town Hal grounds, Bernardez or his representative did not show up to shed light on the concerns.

Others in attendance were members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Bauko, the barangay officials of Poblacion and Abatan, the employees of LHMRH led by Dr, Glenn Mathew Baggao, and interested members of the communities.

Representatives of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resource Office (PENRO) led by Octavio Cuanso, Provincial Legal Office, and the Provincial and municipal Assessors office were also present.

The participants, in the presence of Mayor Abraham Akilit, agreed to convince Bernardez to reconsider his claim in favour of the common good and benefits the establishment of the regional drug rehabilitation center would bring to Bauko and the whole of the province.

A group that included all the members of the local legislative body, Bararagay Captain Manuel Moling, and Manny Aluyen were tasked to confer with Salvador Bernardez within five (5) days.

No update has been received by the writer as of press time.

Dr.Baggao cited that there were no oppositions or manifestations of problems during the conduct of previous consultations in the past on the proposed putting up of the regional facility. He asked why the adverse claim surface only now.

The declaration of Bernardez indicated land as cogon land but the actually is full of pine tree.

He cited the benefits and supported by those in attendance that the establishment of the Drug Rehabilitation Center in the town would usher in development to the province and the people as the facilities would be used by drug dependents not only from the province by from the other provinces in the Cordillera and may be from the Ilocos regions.

Further, employment opportunities for technical and other personnel would benefit local residents and that the local economy would be boosted by the presence of the facilities.

The participants supported the conduct of amicable settlement.

Meanwhile, he echoed his fears and of those in attendance of the possible backlash if the ownership over the property will not be solved. The funds might be reverted back and might be used elsewhere.

“We may kiss the opportunity of hosting the regional drug rehabilitation center good bye and the benefits if the issue not cleared”, he finally said.

By Roger Sacyaten

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