Lilia urges nat’l govt to allow ZC to buy Cabatangan land PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 17 November 2014 11:56

District 2 Rep. Lilia Nuño on Saturday called on the national government to implement a provision of Republic Act 9054 to allow the City Government of Zamboanga to purchase the 73-hectare Cabatangan property.

In an interview, Nuño said they are trying to talk with President Benigno Aquino III to implement that provision of the law, otherwise the central government will be liable as the city government wil file  a mandamus case.

Invoking the Organic Act, Nuño said the Cabatangan property provided under Article 18, Section 1 which states that all properties located in areas that opted not to join the ARMM, the national government shall purchase the properties and the local LGU can buy it from the national government.

“It’s very very clear... but there was a period specified there I think it’s three months after the ratification of the Republic Act 9054, unfortunately the national government failed to implement that particular provision,” she added.

“So we are going, with the city government, the city mayor in particular, should file the mandamus case against the national government to mandate the latter to implement the provision of the law.”

Just recently, Nuño met Lawyer Vic Solis and District 2 Councilor Rommel Agan to discuss thoroughly legal action in case the national government fails to implement the provision of the law. Nuño together with Solis and Agan also met Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin to discuss the same matter.

“Secretary Gazmin gave positive response. He also wants his legal team to work with Attorney Solis and Attorney Agan so that we can fast-track the implementation of a provision in the RA 9054,” said Nuño.

“He (Gazmin) wants that implemented because I told him, we need, the Zamboanga City needs the Cabatangan property,” she said.

The military including the Marines, its Engineering Brigade, the Army Engineering Brigade are occupying more than 17 hectares of land in Cabatangan, even the Commission on Audit, and other government offices are almost occupying the entire properties, according to Nuño.

“In case we can’t get it now as we are still on consultation and public hearing on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, I am hopeful that we should get this before the BBL forwarded to the plenary, the lady solon said.

Contrary to statement of Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Usec. Jose Lorena that the owner of the Cabatanga property is the ARMM. Nuño said, “not all as there are properties under the name of the Republic of the Philippines,.”

According to Nuño, the ARMM is only administering the Cabatangan property  thus the owner is still the Republic of the Philippines.

“There will be problem once the Bangsamoro (Entity) will occupy that area (Cabatangan). I do not know, and we are no longer talking contiguity, it’s already Bangsamoro territory in our city. What will happen to us?” Nuño said.

On Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, the House Ad Hoc Committee on the BBL led by Cagayan Rep. Rufus Rodriguez held its 14th consultation and hearing on the BBL at Centro Latino convention hall at the Paseo del Mar.

The city government officials led by Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar and Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde recommended to the solons that the BBL should include a provision similar to Section 1, Article XVIII of Republic Act 9054 (the Expanded ARMM Law) on the properties of the former Autonomous region in order to resolve any conflict or dispute with regards to Real Properties of the Autonomous Regions in provinces and cities that are not part of the Autonomous Region.

Councilor VP Elago of District 2 said it is very logical because in the first place Zamboanga City is not part of Bangsamoro, adding that it is better for the national government to get the Cabatangang property back from the ARMM and then sell it to Zamboanga City as they can use it.

“Since ARMM is almost abolished and Zamboanga City is not part of Bangsamoro; so, it’s better that the property must be given to us because it is within the territory of our city,” Elago stressed.

“It’s a collective opinion of City Councilors that everything that belongs to ARMM be turned over to the City Government because there is no reason for them to own it because they are not going to have any office here in the city,” he said. — HG