Monday, July 28, 2008 [ sunstar.com.ph ]
By Ian Ocampo Flora
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Provincial Boards (PB) of Pampanga and Tarlac met at the PB session hall here last Friday to discuss the creation of a committee that will look into the boundary dispute between Mabalacat town in this province and Bamban town in Tarlac.
All PB members of both provinces were present in the meeting, which was also attended by Mabalacat Mayor Marino "Boking" Morales and Bamban Mayor Leonardo Anunciacion.
Acting as a quasi-judicial body, the two PBs have agreed to set up the "Mabalacat-Bamban Boundary Dispute Committee" that will hear the complaints of the contending parties and will submit its findings and recommendations to the Pampanga and Tarlac PBs.
Morales said the Calumpang area along the disputed boundary has long been under the jurisdiction of Mabalacat.
He said most of the residents in the area subject themselves under the political and territorial jurisdiction of Mabalacat.
"This area disputed by Bamban was recognized to be a part of Mabalacat under Executive Order 344 of then President Fidel V. Ramos," Morales said, adding that any encroachment or activity of Bamban is illegal.
It could be remembered that tension rose between the two municipalities a few months ago when Bamban started to exert its alleged right over the areas being occupied by Barangay Calumpang along Sacobia River.
It was learned that portions of Sacobia belong to Mabalacat and Bamban.
Earlier, barangay officials of Calumpang complained that a Bamban-based quarry operator has been hauling sand from the territorial jurisdiction of the village.
The quarry operator reportedly showed Calumpang village officials and members of Pampanga quarry task force an old Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) stating that Barangay Calumpang is part of Bamban, Tarlac.
Calumpang officials, on the other hand, have said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Commission on Elections (Comelec), and the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) had already "corrected" the CADT and declared that the village belong to Mabalacat, Pampanga.
In a separate interview with Mayor Anunciacion, he said he would prove their claims before the committee set up by the two PB, which is set to finalize the corresponding rules that would create the committee to hear the case.
Initially, the two bodies agreed on the composition of the committee will include the NCIP, DILG, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The two PBs are set to meet again in Tarlac next month to finalize the creation of the committee.
Meanwhile, Pampanga Board Member Ricardo Yabut said he would ask Governor Eddie Panlilio to deploy quarry checkers and policemen along the disputed area to protect Pampanga-based sand haulers against the fees allegedly being collected by the Bamban Municipal Government.
But Anunciacion, in a separate interview, denied that his municipality has been collecting fees from quarry operators in Calumpang.