Santiago: Repair demolished public roads

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Friday, August 1, 2014

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The City Government here may order for the immediate repair of the public roads, which were intentionally demolished within the bounds of the disputed 130-hectare farmland at Barangay Maimpis, officials said on Thursday.

"The government may only be able to put up structure if it owns the land. This public road was established inside the property because it was considered government-owned," said Mayor Edwin Santiago, adding that lawyer Eligio Mallari, the claimant of the disputed 130-hectare agricultural land, does not have the authority to demolish the public road.

Santiago said the City Government has already sent a formal letter to Mallari, which expresses their dismay over the demolished government-owned roads.


Santiago added that he also asked for the removal of the roadblocks within three days to which the demolition team positively responded.

A security threat

Along with the letter sent, the city government also attached the memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) First Engineering District Office and Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Office III dated March 2013.

The government, according to Santiago, spent P15 million to build the public road along Barangay Maimpis and Bulaon resettlement within the disputed land. The public road project was partially funded through the Priority Development Assistance Fund of Butil party-list Representative Agapito Guanlao.

The project also explicitly stated that it is intended to benefit the farmers of Barangay Maimpis.

"That's why I have been telling them that there is a MOA which allows the government to put up structures inside the farmland," said Santiago.

The City Government is also planning to organize a meeting with both sides in an attempt to resolve the land dispute.

"We are trying to maintain peace, order, and security of the people of San Fernando. The legal issues are not reason enough to jeopardize the security of the residents," said Santiago.

Residents affected

The daily routines of the residents were also disrupted by the demolition operations.

According to residents, they are having a hard time because they cannot pass through the demolished public road, which is also blocked by barbed wires.

"The alternative route is very far from the public road. Although we were able to build a small bridge connecting the two opposite sides, most of the motorists are really finding it hard to pass through because the bridge is very narrow," a resident told Sun.Star Pampanga.

The alternative route, according to the residents, is located at the Bulaon resettlement, which is several kilometers away from the Maimpis public road.

According to the village council of Maimpis, the number of families affected by the demolished public road is estimated at 100.

Majority of the students also reside within the Miranda compound near the road.

"The city government should act now because most of the students and parents are also bothered by the recent shooting incidents," said a teacher from Maimpis Integrated School.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 02, 2014.

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