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Bulacan city starts probe of demolitions for MRT 7

/ 12:02 AM August 08, 2016

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE—The city government is investigating the series of demolitions of farmers’ houses near the route to be taken by the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT 7) project, which is expected to be completed by 2020.

Mayor Arthur Robes sent a team to talk to siblings, Cata-lina and Gerardo Nepomuceno, who lost their house to a demolition team on July 26.

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The houses of the Nepomucenos and three other families in Barangay Gaya-gaya were taken down a day after President  Duterte promised in his State of the Nation Address to stop displacing informal settlers who have no relocation sites set in place, said Eriberto Peña, Bulacan chapter president of the Alyansang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (AMB).

The houses were subjects of a writ of demolition, after a local court ruled that Rolando and Ester Gutierrez were the legitimate owners of the contested lot.

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But Robes said the government should address claims that the property is also the subject of an agrarian reform dispute.

Dialogue with AMB

During a dialogue with AMB members last week, Robes was informed that farmers, like the parents of the Nepomucenos, had been tilling the 2-hectare land since 1937.

The houses in Gaya-gaya are about 6 kilometers from an MRT 7 terminal being built in Barangay Tungkong Mangga.

Supt. Wilson Magpali, San Jose del Monte police chief, said the farmers did not fight the demolition crew led by a court sheriff.

Three weeks ago, seven houses in Barangay Paradise 3 were gutted by fire. Like the demolished houses in Gaya-gaya, these were within the development perimeter of the MRT 7 project, according to AMB.

Preserve  lands

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The farmers have no objection to the rail line being developed in the city, Peña said, adding that “the government should also exhaust all efforts to preserve agricultural lands while paving the way for industrialization and urbanization.”

He said the displaced families should have been given new lands to farm. Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon

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TAGS: Bulacan, demolition, Metro Rail Transit Line 7, news, Regions
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