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Caloocan, Malabon turning land row into 50-year partnership

While the local governments of Makati, Taguig and Pateros fight in court over conflicting claims to Fort Bonifacio, the cities of Caloocan and Malabon are turning their own land dispute into an economic opportunity that can benefit both.

The neighboring cities in northern Metro Manila are set to sign an agreement paving the way for the creation of a joint venture company that will develop a disputed 80-hectare public property along North Luzon Expressway (NLEx).

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Both Caloocan Mayor Oscar Malapitan and Malabon Mayor Antolin Oreta III confirmed the agreement set for signing on June 17.

“The company will develop, manage and operate the disputed property for 50 years and would include the establishment of an integrated bus terminal, economic and industrial zones, business and financial centers, and schools and development centers for the benefit of its residents and nearby areas,” Malapitan said Wednesday.

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“Both cities will surely benefit from this. It’s a win-win situation for us both. I’m glad that our friends from Caloocan are open-minded (about this),” Oreta told the Inquirer.

A draft memorandum of understanding, a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer, shows that the two cities agree to form an entity that will be “engaged in the creation, planning, construction, implementation, management, operation and monitoring of development projects on the disputed properties.”

The land in question covers areas in Barangay Potrero in Malabon, and Barangays 160, 161 and 162—collectively known as Libis Baesa—in Caloocan.

The public information offices of Caloocan and Malabon both said that the land had always been claimed by Caloocan. The dispute started in 2001, when Republic Act No. 9019 classified Malabon as a highly urbanized city and included a tract of land next to the NLEx as part of its territory.

In 2004, residents and officials of Barangay 160 and 161, backed by the Caloocan City government, filed a case in the local court disputing Malabon’s jurisdiction over the area. The case had since prevented the property from being developed.

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TAGS: Antolin Oreta III, Caloocan, Fort Bonifacio, land dispute, malabon, Oscar Malapitan
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