The provincial board commended Busuanga Mayor Elizabeth Cervantes for preventing a land grabbing attempt at Yulo King Ranch (YKR) recently.
Board Member Juan Antonio Alvarez said Tuesday that hundreds of illegal occupants tried to occupy a 20,000-hectare pasture reserve that is also part of the 40,000-hectare landholding.
The land area is now called the Busuanga Pasture Reserve (BPR) that was leased in the past to the YKR. Currently, it is under the management of the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“A group of pesante nga doon sa Calamian tried to occupy another 20,000 hectares of land na nasasakupan ng YKR but through the action of the local government of Busuanga ay napigilan ang mga illegal settlers. We commend the mayor of Busuanga for taking necessary action regarding this matter,” Alvarez said.
On Monday, the Busuanga municipal government blocked a group of more than 100 informal settlers belonging to the Buklod ng Magsasaka (BNM) who attempted to occupy a 20,000-hectare pasture reserve.
According to Busuanga municipal information officer and executive assistant Jonathan Dabuit, personnel from their municipal police station and troops from the Marine Battalion Landing Team 3 assisted in preventing the squatters from occupying a part of the BPR near Chinibayan Falls in Barangay New Busuanga.
He said illegal settlers are from the Barangays of Decalachao in Coron and Nangalao in Linapacan.
“Bini-verify pa namin. Hindi ko pa ma-ascertain ‘yong veracity ng mga iniisip namin ngayon kung bakit sila nandyan. Meron bang sabwatan dito? May mga spotter ba sila? Meron ding mga tumutulong mula sa ibang lugar kung bakit sila nandyan. Hindi galing ‘yan ng Busuanga. Hindi mga legitimate na magsasaka ‘yan na galing sa amin sa Busuanga. Meron kaming mga lokal na magsasaka,” Dabuit added.
BPR is covered by President Rodrigo Duterte’s February 2019-issued Executive Order (EO) 75, which directs all departments, bureaus, offices, and instrumentalities to identify government-owned lands that are suitable for agriculture and distribution to qualified farmer-beneficiaries.
He said the utilization of the YKR is now being studied by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for distribution.
He said DAR is currently studying the possible distribution.
In addition, Dabuit said that illegal occupants will be liable for violating Section 27 of Article 7 of Republic Act 7279 or “Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992” if proven that they are part of a squatting syndicate.
Meanwhile, the municipal government also warned all organized groups attempting to enter the BPR to stop or they will file cases against them.