Wednesday, August 12, 2009 [ manilatimes.net ]
By James Konstantin Galvez, Reporter
A sexagenarian wants Environment Secretary Lito Atienza to investigate the illegal activities of members of a land-grabbing syndicate allegedly operating in cahoots with corrupt officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Artemio Quiambao Jr., a resident of Barangay Signal Village, Taguig City, said members of a syndicate are behind attempts to take away a 3-hectare land that was awarded to him by the government in Taguig more than three decades ago.
He appealed to Atienza to rid the agency of corrupt officials, as land-grabbing activities are also rampant in the provinces, where legitimate beneficiaries of agrarian reform eventually lose their land to members of syndicates who are in cahoots with DENR officials.
Quiambao claimed that his problems started in September 1989 when he applied for survey authority from the Land Management Bureau (LMB) of the DENR, but other people surfaced to claim ownership of the land. He identified them as Teresita Cuevas Tolentino and Rolando Cuevas.
On December 22, 1995, Ricardo Serrano, the DENR regional executive director junked Cuevas’ claim. The decision was affirmed by then DENR Secretary Antonio Cerilles, making the decision final and executory on January 19, 2001.
However, Quiambao said another group surfaced to claim ownership of the same parcel of land awarded to him. At the same time, DENR officials led by engineer Mariano Flotildes, Danilo Lim, Elmo Cabotahi and John Bautista, along with LMB officials led by Allan Barcena, issued a survey authority to Molave Yakal Progressive Movement, or MYPM on April 2007.
According to Quiambao, he filed a formal protest before the DENR-NCR, Land Management Services, questioning the issuance of a survey authority to MYPM, but Regional Executive Director Samzon de Leon junked his protest on December 14, 2007.
On July 24, 2008, Regional Executive Director Corazon Davis decided in Quiambao’s favor, setting aside de Leon’s order.
On June 30, 2009, however, Regional Executive Director Jose Andres Diaz opposed Davis decision in favor of the Perez-Molave Yakal Progressive Movement.
This development led Quiambao to bring up his case with the DENR chief, saying he has been awarded right over the parcel of land since the 1970s but threats to take away the ownership from him remain present because of landgrabbers with backing of DENR officials.
He said syndicates are out to victimize thousands of farmers who may not have the courage nor the means to fight back.