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Solon alleges landgrabbing in Bataan, calls for probe

A lawmaker on Thursday denounced the reported landgrabbing case allegedly by the Philippine National Oil Co. involving almost 600 hectares, which stands to displace thousands of farmers, fisherfolk and residents in Barangay Lamao, Limay, Bataan.

Hicap

Anakpawis party-list Rep. Fernando Hicap filed a resolution asking the House Committees on Agrarian Reform, Aquaculture and Fisheries Resources, and Government Enterprises and Privatization to investigate the case to protect the interest of the people in the area, who belong to the Alyansa ng Samahan ng mga Magsasaka at Makakalikasan Inc.

Hicap said the residents’ situation was caused by President Benigno Aquino III’s enactment on April 17, 2013 of Republic Act No. 10516 or the “An act expanding the utilization of the industrial estate in Lamao, Limay, Bataan for businesses engaged in energy and energy-related infrastructure products and other gainful economic activities in additional to petrochemical and related industries, amending for the purpose Presidential Decree No. 949.

Hicap said the law virtually licensed the PNOC to grab agriculturally productive lands away from the people who have been residing in Lamao for decades now.

“ALSAMAMAI contends that its members have been living in the lands as early as 1962 by virtue of their entry in a resettlement program or in a so-called Miscellaneous Sales Application scheme as shown by the records of the Bureau of Lands in Balanga, Bataan,” Hicap, member of the Makabayan bloc, said.

Furthermore, Hicap said these people have worked on the land as actual cultivators despite persistent land ownership dispute involving a number of government agencies, industrial entities, and several executive decisions, such as Proclamation No. 322 of 1956, Proclamation No. 361 of 1968, and Proclamation No. 630 of 1969, Presidential Decree No. 949 of 1976, and Proclamation No. 2478 of 1986.

“The continued aggressive efforts of the PNOC, in collusion with the national government, to take over the said area would undoubtedly mean the displacement of around 16,000 residents whose livelihood come from farming, fishing, and other integrated economic activities,” Hicap said.

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