MANILA Officials of a local real estate developer on Wednesday claimed tht its project in Lapu-Lapu City is compliant with all legal requirements.
In a statement to the Philippine News Agency (PNA), lawyer Ricardo Ma. P. G. Ongkiko said their client, Pueblo de Oro Development Corporation (PODC), denies that the projects that are being constructed in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu are found within forest lands.
"PODC will present the aforementioned documents (and other evidence) to respond to the unfounded allegations at the appropriate venue," Ongkiko said.
The PDOC claimed that "official public documents, such as Transfer Certificates of Title, Original Certificate of Title, and Tax Declarations, evidence the fact that the subject property is alienable and disposable land and classified as residential."
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday announced the arrest of eight persons for "developing" protected mangroves and forest lands into a residential subdivision in Lapu-Lapu City.
NBI-Environmental Crime Division chief Cezar Nugui said they will also look into the possible liability of local officials who allowed the developer to obtain titles to the protected environmental areas.
The NBI said up to 23 hectares of forest lands and wetlands, covered with lush mangrove forest, were being converted by the developer and had already pre-sold units in Barangay Babag, Lapu-Lapu City.
Nugui said there will be a reversion of titles if any were issued to the buyers of the protected land, which by law cannot be converted.
Arrested were Roleda Benjamin Yu, Charlie Sumalpong and operators of the heavy earth-moving equipment, which were used to dump materials into the forest land to convert it to residential lots to be called the Pueblo de Oro Cebu Subdivision.
The arrested persons face charges of violations of Republic Act 10654 (Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998) and the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines before the municipal trial court of Lapu-Lapu City.
The PODC also claimed its Transfer Certificate of Title No. 110-2011002850 dated July 20, 2011 is proof that the property is not forestland.
Public forestlands are not alienable under the Philippine Constitution, and cannot be acquired under private ownership.
In allowing the registration of the property in the name of original owner Pedro Manayon under Original Certificate of Title No. 139, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 27 at Lapu-Lapu City on Dec. 19, 1997, said the land was classified as residential lot in 1967 per Ordinance No. 829 of Lapu-Lapu City Council, and in 1990, it was classified as industrial lot per zoning Ordinance No. 290 series of 1990 of Lapu-Lapu City, the developers added. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency