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Squatters ‘invade’ Lingayen beaches

[ ] February 10, 2012

SAN FABIAN– Squatters allegedly led by a village leader here continue to defy government orders for them to vacate a private property, including prime foreshore areas of Barangay Nibaliw Narvarte, this town.

Then Secretary Jose Atienza Jr., of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, on Dec. 16, 2009 directed the illegal occupants to leave the potential tourism spot near the beach head of the Lingayen Gulf, which is now being eyed by real estate developers.

The “Narvarte Fisherfolks Association, Inc.” and led by Nibaliw Narvarte chairman Recto U. Orjeda, its president, earlier petitioned the DENR to apply for a foreshore lease agreement which was disapproved.

Atienza had instructed the Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer in Dagupan City to enforce his directive.

Orjeda’s group has grown to about 400 members on encroached property with some reportedly having secured tax declaration documents for individual lots averaging two hectares each.

But, following a complaint from lot owners of the 30-hectare property occupied by illegal settlers, the tax declarations were nullified by Pangasinan Provincial Assessor Nestor Quiambao, justifying his “notice of cancellation” on a lower court decision “affirmed by the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.”

The group is allegedly offering for sale or lease the properties covered by the tax declarations up to nearby Barangay Bindang.

Gov. Amado Espino Jr. ordered all coastal barangay executives to “refrain from endorsing foreshore lease applications along the Lingayen Gulf Foreshore Area and its Immediate Environs” under auntority of a Local Government memorandum.

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