Muntinlupa Mayor Jaime Fresnedi reiterated the lack of coordination from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) regarding the construction of a wall along Insular Road in Bilibid during the conclusion of the hearings conducted by the House Committee on Justice last July 14.
“There was never a time that BuCor Director General Gerald Bantag coordinated or informed the city government of his intentions to close the road going to Southville 3. I was expecting Usec. Bantag to coordinate so we could also consult this matter with the affected residents and that proper intervention, especially the transportation and other emergency matters, will be implemented,” Fresnedi noted.
The local exec answered Bukidnon 2nd District Rep. Jonathan Keith Flores’ inquiries on whether DG Bantag coordinated with the local government on construction of a wall along Insular Road since his designation as BuCor Director General in 2019.
Flores also pointed during the congressional hearing that there is a need to review the provision on BuCor Modernization Law pertaining to the bureau’s “absolute authority.”
“I think absolute authority only comes when the properties is under the name of BuCor. That is why the provision requires the BuCor to have the titles transferred in their name. It seems that for as long as the title still remains in the name of the Republic of the Philippines, then it would be pre-mature for BuCor to exercise absolute authority over the same. Just like I said, it is still not yet under the name of the BuCor,” Flores said.
Register of Deeds Atty. Silverio Garing testified during the hearing that land titles in the city’s land record repository for NBP Reservation are titled under the name of the Republic of the Philippines and not BuCor.
Further, Department of Public Works and Highways district engineer Elpidio Trinidad confirmed that the Insular Road is a National Road as per inventory and is owned by the National Government and not BuCor.
Committee chairman and Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso recognized the lack of coordination and proper consultation of the BuCor to have affected the livelihood of the residents and their access to public transportation, especially barangay and city health services during this national public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Clearly, we will not be in this predicament and this inquiry would not have taken place if the BuCor have simply taken simple, logical, and humanitarian steps on public consultation before taking such drastic action that obviously would affect thousands of citizens in the community,” Veloso said in his opening remarks during the committee hearing.
Jap Landingin, president of NHA Southville3 Homeowners Association, told the committee that since the road closure, many community members have lost their jobs and were deprived of medical assistance. Landingin added that at least ten (10) residents of Southville 3 have died due to COVID-19.
Congressman Ruffy Biazon, who have raised the issue in Congress for a committee hearing in aid of legislation, said the inquiry has been terminated since enough information has been gathered to prepare the committee report.
“Based on the discussions in the hearing and the statements of the committee chairman, it appears that the actions of the BuCor in closing Insular Road was not only baseless, it was against the law. I call on the Bucor to heed the findings of the committee and tear down the wall constructed on a national road,” Biazon said.
Last March, the local government has condemned BuCor’s action to construct a concrete wall along Insular Road. Southville 3 is a socialized housing project of the National Housing Authority located within NBP with 8,000 families or at least 40,000 residents.
*Source: Public Information Office