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Construction of P1-B Antique gov’t center to go full swing

BUENAVISTA: The construction of the PHP1 billion Antique Government Center will now go full swing after the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) 6 (Western Visayas) junked the request of this town's local government to issue a cease-and-desist order (CDO) against the project. Antique Governor Rhodora Cadiao said on Friday that DAR-6 Director Sheila Enciso recently issued an opinion dismissing the complaint of engineer Jose Magbanua, San Jose de Buenavista Municipal Zoning Officer, filed last year, questioning the construction of the government center. Magbanua had sought the issuance of a cease-and-desist order, citing the illegal or premature land conversion of the area for the construction of the center. The area in question is a five-hectare lot in Barangay Badiang in San Jose De Buenavista, which, according to Magbanua is an agricultural land. However, Enciso, in her decision dated Dec. 27, 2023, denied the request for lack of merit. The provincial government received the decision only on Feb. 22, 202 4. 'On March 27, 2023, DAR opinion LO-2023-0001 was issued by Attorney Napoleon U. Gahit, Undersecretary for Legal Affairs and Concurrent Director of the Bureau of Agrarian Legal Assistance, DAR Central Office, which states that the province of Antique is not required by law to secure a conversion clearance from the DAR prior to change on use of the five hectares, which it acquired through negotiated sale,' Enciso said. He said without the submission of the relevant documents to support the request for the CDO, the office was unable to validate the extent of the area where the activity complained about is being committed and the actual status of the land. With the dismissal of the request for CDO, Cadiao said they are expecting to finish the center within the next 19 months. She maintained that the center, which is being constructed through transparent and honest dealing, is for the development of the province and the people. In a separate interview, Vice Governor Edgar Denosta said the government center would provide a wider and more convenient area for the public while doing business with the provincial government. 'The people had been waiting for the government center as it would be more convenient for them to transact there,' he said. "The provincial government would like to have a government center located (in) an area which is not as busy and as congested as the business district of San Jose de Buenavista that the transacting populace have a hard time finding their vehicles' parking space." The groundbreaking ceremony for the government center was held on April 28, 2023, but the complaint has derailed construction. Source: Philippines News Agency