Press Release
December 1, 2006

Drilon asks DENR chief to investigate
alleged land grabbing in Camiguin

Senator Franklin M. Drilon had asked Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sec. Angelo Reyes to investigate persistent reports of alleged land grabbing in Camiguin in the guise of an order to resurvey the land already occupied by more than 200 residents.

In a letter, Drilon informed Reyes that his office received a complaint signed by 50 land owners of Camiguin against the action of the DENR Regional Director of Region X, declaring as erroneous the Mambajao Camiguin cadastral survey (GSS-10-000026-D) and ordering the resurvey of the covered areas.

According to the complainants, the said Mambajao cadastral survey was made on alienable and disposable lands in the 1990s by the DENR Regional Office, and after 15 years has elapsed, it is only now that the said office has declared the Mambajao cadastral survey erroneous, Drilon said.

The complainants are asserting that this actuation of the DENR regional office is highly irregular and anomalous. According to them, they have a reasonable ground to believe that the same was made to drive them out of their land holdings so that this can be landgrabbed by some unscrupulous officials, Drilon noted.

Drilon, who is also Liberal Party President, urged Reyes to immediately investigate the complaint of the land owners.

We feel that the goal of declaring the said survey erroneous is a technical land grabbing and exploited by persecution and insinuation by publicly known land hungry local executives, the complainants, headed by Eugenio Babia, said in a seven-paged complaint filed with Drilons office on October 12, 2006.

The complainants alleged that it was the incumbent Governor who has instructed the Registry of Deeds Office not to accept application for tax declaration within the alienable and disposable GSS-10-0000026-D approved surveyed land.

We are forbidden to apply for tax declaration in our land to show that we are not willing to pay taxes so that these unscrupulous land hungry executives can circumvent the law and can do business by selling the land to investors, the complainants said.

The services of the Carrasco and Carrasco Law Offices were engaged by 200 claimants, headed by Babia and has written the DENR Regional Office to desist from continuing the illegal acts of re-surveying the property as the same is already private in nature and already not within their jurisdiction.

Since there is no court order given to your office to conduct the said re-survey or authority from the Secretary of the DENR, then your action is illegal and you can be held administratively and criminally liable, Evangeline Tadlas-Carrasco, legal counsel of the complainants said in the letter.

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