December 2, 2023

The Philippine Military Academy will continue with its fencing of the military reservation, which the city council earlier asked to be deferred in consideration to the families that are adversely affected by the project.

Major Julesther Cañada, who appeared for PMA during the city council meeting on Oct. 18, said the military institution will proceed with its fencing project, but assured the areas with claimants will not be sealed off.

While waiting for court actions involving the claimants within the military reservation, Cañada said the structures will not be included in the fencing.

“We are doing the fencing in accordance with the law. ‘Yung matatamaan na bahay will not be fenced,” he said.

Cañada said PMA acknowledges the rights of claimants within the reservation, but until now, they are waiting for documents that would prove the occupants’ prior rights over the area they are residing in.

Proclamation 2405 that declared portions of land of the public domain at Fort Gregorio del Pilar as a military reservation was issued in 1985.

Rey Calaycay, who represents the Bontoc Organization of Purok Ongasan Loakan, Inc. (Bopoli), one of the groups that have claims over the area, said they could not proceed with the processing of their titles because they could not secure the certificate of no objection, which is one of the requirements in the processing of their land titles.

Cañada said in the case of Bopoli, which is claiming 29,631 square meters, the Department of National Defense has already objected to its request to be exempted from the coverage of Proclamation 2405.

“The DND has already responded that it is not allowing the request of Bopoli to segregate the 2.9 hectares,” he said.

Aside from Bopoli, three clans are also claiming portions of the PMA reservation.

Cañada said the claimants can present evidence of their claims when cases are filed with the courts.

In the meantime, he said the fencing project, which was issued a permit by the chief engineer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who was deputized to issue permits by the Department of Public Works and Highways, will push through.

“We will not bar the entrance and exit of the claimants, but we will proceed with the fencing project unless a temporary restraining order is issued,” Cañada said. – Jane B. Cadalig