NE Slams land survey
(by Ferdie G. Domingo  2/5/2014)

PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija - A cadastral survey that placed 7,000 hectares under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Alfonso Castaneda in Nueva Vizcaya, which shares a border with Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija, was flawed because of a lapse in procedures, according to a surveyor.

Vergas Cagua, team leader of the Sta. Cruz Service Office, said the requirements of a survey include notifying officials of Pantabangan that a survey was to be conducted in the area.

“We did conduct the survey without informing the town of Pantabangan although a notice should have been given to it as one of the requirements of the survey,” Caguay told a session of the Sanggunian Panlalawigan.

The hearing followed a complaint from Gov. Aurelio Umali asking the board to investigate the territorial dispute. The results of the survey would drastically reduce the province’s land area and its revenues.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 2 ordered the survey as part of a project of the Aquino government. Based on the seven-month survey, barangays near Casecnan Dam, which pay huge real property taxes to Nueva Ecija, will now be part of Nueva Vizcaya.

Caguay said they provided results of the survey to Castañeda, but failed to give a copy to Pantabangan and the Castañeda municipal officials were now telling residents in the area to pay their taxes to Castañeda.

“I found it alarming because it is causing confusion among the people of Pantabangan. There was an element of deceit in making the survey,” Pantabangan Mayor Lucio Uera said.

Roberto Quizon, officer-in-charge of the DENR in Region 3, said results of the survey was not yet final and he proposed creating a technical working group to look into the issue.

He said a new survey might be necessary to establish the boundaries because based on historical accounts Castañeda was once a barrio of Pantabangan.


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