Posted on March 26, 2015 07:38:00 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]
By Louine Hope Conserva, Correspondent
ILOILO CITY -- Irregularities found in 16 land titles covering about 73 hectares of Sicogon Island are not expected to affect an Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) project, as the resort to be developed by the company lies outside the area with questionable documentation, an official said.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 6 Executive Director Jim O. Sampulna said the agency has moved to cancel the titles. Among the faults are the titling of a body of water, the Sicogon Channel, and erroneous technical descriptions and double-titling.
Bodies of water are not subject to disposal for acquisition under the Public Land Act, also known as Commonwealth Act 141.
Sicogon Island lies off the northeast corner of Panay and forms part of the municipality of Carles, Iloilo.
“The DENR immediately took action to rectify the problem. But we would like to assure Ayala and SIDECO (Sicogon Development Corp.) that their development will not be hampered by this development,” Mr. Sampulna said.
Mr. Sampulna said the problem is believed to have originated from a cadastral survey conducted in 2010 by a firm contracted by the DENR. The officials involved in issuing the titles are subject to investigation, he added.
SIDECO has partnered with ALI for the development of 800 hectares within Sicogon Island into a tourism estate with residential buildings, retail shops, forest trails, diving spots, an airport with a 1.2-kilometer runway and a jetty.
The ALI-SIDECO joint venture is scheduled to begin construction on the air and sea ports within the first quarter this year after the settlement in November of a dispute with farmers and fisherfolk.