Spare no one in Boracay land probe, DENR urged
ILOILO CITY – Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casiño has called on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to spare no one in the investigation on alleged irregularities in the titling of land on Boracay Island.
He also called on the DENR to expand its investigation on the titling of properties in other tourist destinations.
“Heads must roll and the investigation should go as high and as wide as possible to discover who are behind the scam and who gained from it,” Casiño told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a telephone interview on Sunday.
The DENR is conducting an investigation on irregularities involving its personnel in the issuance of 31 homestead patents covering 9.7 hectares to 21 land title applicants on the 1,032-hectare island-resort.
The titles, which were registered with provincial registry of deeds, were issued between Nov. 13, 2009, and Dec. 8, 2010.
Most titles were believed to be invalid because the properties were misdeclared as agricultural instead of commercial or residential.
Casiño said the DENR should not stop at investigating those directly involved in the issuance of the questionable titles.
‘Cause for concern’
Bayan Muna last year passed a resolution, seeking to investigate the plight of the Ati tribe in Boracay who were in danger of being eased out from the island despite being among its original inhabitants.
Casiño said the alleged land title irregularities were a “cause for concern” for the Ati community who were issued a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.
“The Ati tribe could not still transfer to their land despite a prolonged legal process and with congressional intervention. But others are apparently getting titles under the table,” he said.
He said the DENR should also look into other destinations where properties are also being titled because the alleged irregularities on Boracay could set a precedent.
Property claimants and business owners on Boracay, who have been fighting to have their properties titled, also urged the DENR to resolve the controversy immediately.
“We hope this will be corrected,” said Loubelle Cann, president of the Boracay Foundation.
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