Vast Yulo Estate in Coron being stolen? PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 20 July 2017 13:32

KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS

BY Atty. BATAS MAURICIO

LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… `You shall not steal… you shall not covet your neighbor’s house…your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that belongs to your neighbor’…” (Exodus 20:15, 17, the Holy Bible).

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VAST YULO ESTATE IN CORON BEING STOLEN? As I travelled from the Busuanga-Coron Airport in Coron, Palawan towards the town proper of Coron on July 17, 2017 to attend court hearings involving land disputes the following day, I couldn’t help but notice the clear parceling of the vast estate that was once known, and is even now still recognized, as the “Yulo King Ranch”, or simply YKR, with the use of bamboo slits.

Thousands of hectares of YKR was sequestered by the Cory Aquino government after the 1986 EDSA power grab led by US forces collaborating with Filipino politicians, on the theory that the land was an illegally-acquired property under the Marcos regime.

Unfortunately, however, aside from declaring YKR as sequestered property, the Cory Aquino government did not do anything to use the land for productive endeavors, apparently because it did not want to help an alleged Marcos business associate. What was worse, the government at that time simply left the vast estate to the mercy of thieves who even took pride in stealing what was not theirs.

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LANDS NEAR CORON AIRPORT TAKEN OVER BY SETTLERS: Thirty one years after EDSA 1986, YKR is untouched. What was once a sprawling ranch used in the breeding of cows to produce good beef for local consumption and export has become a desolate field where wild grasses and bushes have grown.

No one among the natives of Coron wanted to touch the ranch, until enterprising individuals from Mindoro and nearby provinces descended on the island and settled and occupied parts of YKR. This caused a wrangling between the local government of Coron, and the settlers, which is unresolved up to now.

Apparently encouraged by the inability of Coron and even of the national government to oust the settlers, other individuals have come to the island. These new settlers have shown themselves to be bolder and braver than their earlier counterparts, fencing off with bamboo slits huge swaths of land located right along the concrete thoroughfare that connects Coron Airport to the town proper 15 or so kilometers away.

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GOV’T UNABLE TO DEFEND ITSELF FROM THEFT OF ITS LANDS: The example of a group of militants forcibly occupying a housing project for military and police personnel that stands in a Bulacan town, and settlers in Coron taking over choice agricultural lands at will, indicate not only a breakdown in law order and the rise of anarchy in almost every part of the country.

What is more problematic here is the inability of government to protect its properties (which are to be used for the benefit of all citizens), and its lack of will to recover them, from usurpers. Then, it is also indicative of the unwillingness or incapacity of government to prosecute people who commit crimes.

In his Art of War, the great Chinese philosopher Confucius bewailed this inability of government to act as something that will cause the downfall of that government. He said, in so many words, when the punishment for a crime is not imposed promptly on the wrongdoers, it encourages more lawbreakers which will ultimate destroy all authorities.

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