Saturday, November 11, 2006

Army clearing Camp Evangelista of illegal settlers

CAMP EDILBERTO EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City - (MIKE BAÑOS / Nov 10) - The Philippine Army has started clearing areas of this long-time headquarters of the 4th Infantry ‘Diamond’ Division of illegal settlers for security reasons and to facilitate future developments.

“The AFP Leadership wants to clear all military camps and reservations of illegal occupants,” Col. Augusto L. Tolentino, Division Chief of Staff, told media Wednesday during a press conference hosted by the 4ID Civil-Military Operations and G-7 offices. “For a while, illegal occupants were tolerated to stay inside military installations but security reasons and future camp development plans could not be implemented if the problem remains. It started in Fort Bonifacio and other military camps all over the country.”

Capt. Aldrich M. Uayan, Division Judge Advocate Officer, identified the affected area of the camp as Lot 4318, a 35.78 hectare parcel which was confirmed by the Supreme Court in Case No. G.R. 157306 dated 25 November 2005 per Presidential Proclamation 265 Series of 1938. The 35.78 hectares of the subject area comprises some 27.7% of the 129.2944 hectares total area of Camp Evangelista.

The ongoing clearing operation involves some 70 structures belonging to informal settlers/illegal occupants comprising of 13 active Army personnel, 14 Army retirees, 40 civilians and 3 PNP personnel.
Brig. Gen. Artemio R. Arugay, Assistant Division Commander, said the civilian occupants are being transferred to a one-hectare relocation site in Barangay Canitoan donated by the city government through Mayor Vicente Emano while military personnel are being moved to the 35-hectare Camp Osito Bahian in Malaybalay City. The latter site is also the field headquarters of the 4th ID’s 403rd Infantry Brigade, one of the division’s organic units along with the 401st and 402nd brigades.

Each enlisted personnel and civilian employee is being extended a P50, 000.00 assistance for a 150 sq. lot with a 20 sq.m. residence while officers are entitled to a 200 sq.m. lot and the same residential unit, he added.

“We gave them six months notice, explained to them why they have to move someplace else, and they understood us,” Arugay said. “While all petitioners are now moving out, some of them still want to contest their claim to the land in court.”

However, Arugay said all lower courts and the high court have already unanimously confirmed that the land belongs to the Philippine Government. Camp Evangelista was originally donated to the Philippine government by the late Kagay-anon Patriot Apolinar Velez as a training ground for the Philippine Army.

Earlier last month, the PA also demolished some 50 shanties in Fort Bonifacio found to be encroaching on lots allocated for the expansion of the Libingan ng mga Bayani, officials said.
Army spokesman Major Ernesto Torres disclosed troops defused a potentially explosive confrontation with settlers when they seized some 10 Molotov cocktails, an improvised incendiary bomb in Sitio Tago-Tago West Bicutan from residents, many of whom were retired soldiers.

Army Chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Tolentino said some of the residents even strafed their own houses to make them look like the Army eviction team shot them.
Gunshots were heard but no firearms were recovered, Torres said.

Tolentino said a total of 300 houses were to be demolished as part of the Army's efforts to expand the 50-hectare Heroes' Cemetery.The Army will also demolish structures built by residents of plush subdivisions like Forbes Park and Dasmariñas Village, which been found to have encroached on the property where the Bonifacio Heights condominium complex would be built, Tolentino said. However, Officials of these villages have agreed to a joint survey of their borders with the Army, he added.
MIKE BAÑOS501 V. F. Cabaraban St., Cabaraban Subdivision,Puntod, 9000 Cagayan de Oro CityPhilippinesPrimary Mobile 0906-889-8484 (Touch Mobile)Secondary Mobile 0921-469-6305 (Smart) IM mike_banos_2000@yahoo.comalternate email :

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