2,000 displaced Angeles City folk reject relocation site

2,000 displaced Angeles City folk reject relocation site

/ 05:02 AM June 20, 2024

2,000 displaced Angeles City folk reject relocation site

The road leading to Sitio Balubad in Anunas village, Angeles City is blocked by burning tires and other objects to prevent the demolition team from entering the sub-village. —photo courtesy of the Angeles City Police Office

ANGELES CITY, PAMPANGA, Philippines — Some 535 families (2,000 people) displaced by a real estate company from their ancestral land in Sitio Balubad in Anunas village here have refused the city government’s offer to relocate them to a property in a remote village in Magalang town.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Anunas United Farmers, Settlers and Descendants Association Inc. (AUFSDA) said the relocation site was too far from this city.


“The relocation site … which is located almost at the boundary of Concepcion town, Tarlac, seems like an insult, is inhumane and is not a liveable place for Balubad residents,” it said.


READ: Aetas’ return to landslide-prone Pampanga village bucked

Dozens of Sitio (subvillage) Balubad residents held a lightning rally outside City Hall in Pulung Maragul village here on Tuesday. The police did not disperse them but asked them to transfer to a nearby area so they would not disrupt traffic.

Mary Joy Paragas, AUFSDA president, told a local television station that nobody informed her group about the relocation site, which is at least 30 kilometers from where they used to live.

She said they learned about it only through the social media page of the city government on Monday.

‘Not good’

In its statement, the group said the relocation site was two hours away from Angeles and “not a good residential place” for displaced Balubad residents who mostly work in this city.

It said rough and unpaved roads lead to the relocation site, and no public transport vehicles ply the area, except for several tricycles, which charge higher fares.


“The location is surrounded by poultry farms and piggeries,” the group said, adding that it is also far from schools and hospitals.

On Monday, the city government announced that a 45-square meter lot “would be made available” for each of the affected families in a 3-hectare area in Magalang town.

In a Facebook post, the city government, quoting Mayor Carmelo Lazatin Jr., said that the relocation site would enable displaced families to own their lots after real estate developer Clarkhills Properties Corp. took over Sitio Balubad in March this year and established checkpoints along the property’s entry points.

“Mayor Lazatin had offered P70 million to buy 2 ha from Clarkhills for the relocation of the Sitio Balubad residents but to no avail, which prompted the Angeles LGU (local government unit) to find another location in Magalang town,” the city government said.

Other options

On Tuesday, Sitio Balubad residents met with Lazatin’s representatives to discuss the planned relocation. The two parties are expected to meet again after a week, as they have not agreed on anything yet.

It was learned that “options” were offered to families who would refuse to be relocated to Magalang. No details were given about this, but a source said options could include monetary compensation.

Residents of Sitio Balubad were mostly farmers and their descendants, who had lived in the area for several decades until Clarkhills drove them away.

They have been insisting on the legitimacy of the Certificates of Land Ownership (Cloas) awarded to them by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) during past administrations.

But on Oct. 28, 1992, the DAR provincial office in Pampanga ruled against the farmers and residents belonging to the Alyansa ng mga Maka-maralitang Asosasyon at Kapatirang Organisasyon Inc. and ordered them to vacate the 735,567 square meters of farm lots covered by two Cloas.

According to DAR Pampanga, the land was not an agricultural area and, therefore, not covered by the agrarian reform law.

The group elevated the case to the higher courts until the Supreme Court denied its petition in a decision in March 2001.

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Both Lazatin and Clarkhills have promised relocation sites for the affected residents.

TAGS: Angeles City, DAR, Pampanga

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