Lilia asks Palace to start transfer of Cabatangan properties to city PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 14 November 2014 14:41

Zamboanga City 2nd District Rep. Lilia Macrohon Nuno has asked President Aquino to start the process of transferring the ownership of the Cabatangan Properties from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to the City of Zamboanga City, as provided for under Republic Act 9054, known as the Expanded ARMM law.

In a letter to Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, Nuno asked OPAPP to make representations with Malacanang to finally initiate the long-overdue process wherein the Zamboanga City government can acquire ownership of portions of the Cabatangan properties as provided for in the ARMM Law.

Under Section 1, Article XVIII of Republic Act 9054 (Expanded ARMM law), “the national government was mandatorily required to purchase the said properties which are registered in the name of the ARMM government and thereafter convey those which the government of the City of Zamboanga is willing to acquire,” Nuno explained.

“The said provision has remained unimplemented to date notwithstanding the lapse of 13 years from the approval of the law on March 31, 2001 and its ratification on August 14, 2001,” Nuno said in her letter to Deles. “Further, may I add, notwithstanding the willingness of the city government of Zamboanga to acquire the said properties which it intends to apply for the public good.”

Nuno said the Cabatangan properties could be used to provide for the additional office spaces currently needed by both local and national government agencies in Zamboanga City.

Nuno pointed out that under RA 9054, which was enacted by Congress in 2001 and signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, all ARMM properties in localities that opted not to join the expanded ARMM territory through the plebiscite, shall be purchased by the national government and subsequently sold to the local government units concerned which were willing to purchase the said properties.

She said this provision covered and included the several hectares of government properties located in Barangay Cabatangan which are registered in the name of the Government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“Certain parts of said properties are occupied by the Philippine Army and Philippine Marines and regional government offices which include the Commission on Audit, Civil Service Commission, Population Commission, Department of Public Works and Highways, National Telecommunications Commission, and Department of Education,” Nuno said in her letter to Deles.” Likewise, there are portions which are occupied by informal settlers.”

Nuno noted that now would be the appropriate time for the national government to implement the said provision of RA 9054 since President Aquino has requested Congress to enact the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law which will eventually replace the ARMM under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

“The successful implementation of this provision of RA 9054 and the eventual transfer of the Cabatangan Properties to the City Government of Zamboanga will serve as the fitting closure for the Expanded ARMM Law and the introduction of the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” Nuno said.

In her letter to Deles, Nuno said: “It is the hope and prayer of the people of Zamboanga City that the matter concerning the ARMM properties at Cabatangan is resolved before the Bangsamoro is established and the regional government of ARMM, which holds title to certain of the properties in said barangay, becomes defunct.”

“I am requesting your intervention on this matter considering your unique position as chief advisor of the President on the peace process and the government’s lead person identified with the successful conclusion of the negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front leading to the adoption of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL which is pending consideration in Congress,” Nuno added.

In her letter to the OPAPP chief, Nuno also asked Deles to relay to Malacanang the willingness of Zamboanga City government to purchase the Cabatangan Properties “as manifested through numerous resolutions of its Sangguniang Panlungsod, the latest of which is Resolution No. 1199, approved on October 14, 2014.”

In this resolution, the City Council urged Mayor Beng Climaco, 1st District Rep. Celso Lobregat and Nuno “to make the necessary representations with the national government for the acquisition of the properties situated in this city owned and registered in the name of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) so that the City Government of Zamboanga,  in turn, can later on purchase the same from the national government pursuant to Section 1, Article XVIII of RA 9054.”