December 1, 2023

A city council committee was tasked to look into the validity of the agreement that transferred the possession of a lot in Barangay Irisan to the Office of the City Social Welfare and Development (OCSWD).
The council tasked the committee on laws to study the deed of donation that allowed the OCSWD to own a 5,000 square-meter of lot where the office has put up structures for the youth, the elders, and rebel returnees, among others.
The lot was donated in 2001 by the heirs of Felipe Pucay, through Elsie Kiwas-Pucay.
The heirs of Frumencio Salda sought the council’s intervention, saying as co-heirs, they were not consulted when Elsie Pucay signed the deed of donation.
The heirs of Salda are claiming more than 1,200 square meters of the lot donated to the OCSWD.
Pucay reportedly signed the deed of donation as the administrator and not as the sole heir of Pucay.
OCSWD representative Nestor Mestito, who also appeared before the council, said the claim of the Saldas has been decided by the court, which ruled in favor of the city.
He said the case for recovery of possession, which was filed by the late Frumencio Salda, was dismissed and the latter did not appeal the decision.
He said the decision noted the Saldas were not able to prove their prior possession of the land they are claiming.
The heirs of Salda however said they have been occupying the land for decades as it is where they derive their livelihood through farming.
The claimants are also asking the OCSWD to open the portion that the office enclosed to allow them passage and facilitate the transport of their agricultural produce.
Mestito said after the deed of donation, they installed a perimeter fence to secure the area, which accommodates children, among others.
Councilor Isabelo Cosalan, Jr. said there is a need to further study the validity of the deed of donation executed by Pucay since the other owners who have claims over the lot were not consulted.
The city council also requested OCSWD and the City Buildings and Architecture Office to reopen the road used by the claimants as passage route, pending the resolution of the dispute.
The city committee on laws, human rights, and justice chaired by Councilor Peter Fianza will inspect the area and conduct a public consultation among the parties concerned, including the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. – Jane B. Cadalig with a report from Jordan Habbiling