Tolentino wants land expropriation in Mayon’s 6-km PDZ fast-tracked | BICOL TODAY

Tolentino wants land expropriation in Mayon’s 6-km PDZ fast-tracked

Photo from Rah Bah Sero FB

By Mar Serrano

LEGAZPI CITY — Francis Tolentino, Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs and Mayon Volcano crisis manager, has directed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to fast-track the expropriation of the vast track of agricultural land reportedly owned by villagers living in the volcano’s 6-kilometer permanent danger zone (PDZ).

Tolentino said in an interview Thursday that it was also the DENR which had proposed the expropriation of 5,500 hectares of land inside the 6-km PDZ.

Albay Public Safety Emergency and Management Office (Apsemo) statistics indicate that there are 1,456 families living in the volcano’s 6-km PDZ, that claim having the appropriate land ownership titles.

Tolentino said under the DENR proposal, once these vast lands are expropriated, the government would be able to save a significant amount of funds for evacuation and relief operation in times of calamities such as Mayon Volcano eruption.

He also asked the DENR to review land titles issued by the agency. “Let’s first find out whether these titles issued are original and registered land titles or were they government land patents,” he said.

The DENR has said that it will no longer accept titling of land located inside the 6-km PDZ.

Meanwhile, Cedric Daep, Apsemo chief, said Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara has created Task Force Mayon aimed at relocating the thousands of families whose houses are in the 6-km PDZ.

The task group would review whether these villagers indeed have ownership titles to the land they reportedly claim as theirs.

Daep said, “initial finding indicates that some of the owners only show their tax declaration certificate, not the original land title. Furthermore, these lands are classified as agricultural, not residential.”

The group will also recommend a “buy-out scheme” where the local government may expropriate or buy the land owned by villagers that are in the 6-km PDZ.

Earlier, Phivolcs resident volcanologist Ed Laguerta, in an interview said the agency had submitted a position paper to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan strongly recommending the passage of a provincial ordinance prohibiting any human activity inside the 6-km PDZ.

“There’s a need for an ordinance that would make the prohibitive zone as a ‘No Man’s Land’, thus solving the perennial problem of stubborn villagers either living or doing farming choirs in the designated danger zone,” Laguerta said.

Latest count indicates that 1,456 families or 5,610 persons would still remain in evacuation centers until Phivolcs further lowers Mayon’s alert status which is currently at Level 3, after it was downgraded from Level 4 earlier this week.

The remaining evacuees still seeking refuge in 13 evacuation centers are those whose houses are in the 6-km PDZ covering 11 villages in the towns of Daraga, Camalig, Malilipot, Guinobatan and Tabaco City, a report said.

A decampment order has decongested about 82 percent of the 61 designated evacuation centers in the towns of Malilipot, Bacacay, Sto Domingo, Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan and the cities of Tabaco, Ligao, and Legazpi.

Tolentino said 15,455 families or 58,656 persons have been allowed to return home and decampment is expected to end on Saturday. (PNA)

Posted by on March 10, 2018. Filed under Bicol News,Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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