• Talisay needs a ‘pogi’

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    I frequent my hometown Cebu nowadays for two reasons — I am preparing for DYRC’s 75th anniversary and I have to assist the Development Academy of the Philippines in their real property problem in Talisay.

    DYRC is the oldest provincial station in the Philippines. It is managed under my registered business, Bisalog Broadcasting Station, in partnership with the Manila Broadcasting Company. I entered into a partnership with MBC in 2010 when the radio station’s previous management allowed it to plunge. Now, modesty aside, through our leadership and able staff and crew, DYRC is number 3 in the latest survey, and is a recipient of several awards and recognitions. As a matter of fact, among stations in the Visayas, only DYRC was recognized as finalist for best AM station by KBP this year.

    DYRC, like its mother station, DZRH, prides itself in good broadcast pioneering pedigree. Its credible, fair and balance news and culture of excellence continue to live on, prompting the Cebuanos to call the station their very own: DYRC is CEBU and CEBU is DYRC.

    While preparing for the 75th anniversary, I also do some leg work for DAP to

    broker and if possible, explore options to resolve the more or less 2-decade old land dispute with some 600 families illegally occupying their 10-hectare property.

    Being a former DAPer myself, I could not say no to my former boss and friend, DAP President Antonio Kalaw, who we fondly call ADK.

    The subject lot is supposed to be the home of DAP conference center in the Visayas, a smaller version of what they have in Tagaytay City.

    By the way, DAP and University of the Philippines share the same problem. UP owns about three-fourths of the land.

    To give a brief background, the ownership and occupation of the land have been upheld by the court in a legal batle. Unfortunately, the DAP-favorable decision cannot be executed because illegal occupants refuse to abide. You know how things go, some people can be so violent when their family home is to be demolished.

    I started my leg work by digging on the movers and shakers of the land. I started with City Mayor Johnny delos Reyes (JBR) when he visited Manila two years ago.

    To help the city, which is the location of our station transmitter, I linked JBR with ADK and facilitated their initial talks.

    With the kind indulgence of DAP executives, they explained the issue to the innocent mayor. I do not know if it was with a stroke of luck that JBR’s chief of staff, Pastor Paypa, is also an occupant of the DAP property. Paypa was with us during the meeting.

    To cut the story short, it was agreed then that parties will enter into a Memorandum of Understanding for the sole purpose of exploring possible steps that may resolve the case.

    The meeting concluded with an exchange of numbers and it was preceded by exchange of emails for that purpose. Middle of last year, an MOU was officially signed for the purpose of exploration of resolution.

    Possibilities after possibilities were presented to the stakeholders including the land swap idea. The land swap was conditioned in equity- more or less in equal zonal valuation and that it should be available and of no issue.

    The mayor, who apparently lacks proper bureaucratic background just smiled, nodded his head and said: “It’s a done deal, we have a ready lot.”

    At least it was something positive, I thought. But at the back of my mind, I was also confused because of the complexity of the issue.

    The LGU assured DAP of a land swap but I was apprehensive of the political climate in the locality. The swapping obviously needs the council’s nod in a binding resolution. However, the leadership of JBR cannot muster the required number, having only two allies among the eleven council members.

    Second quarter of this year, JBR, along with Paypa, presented to DAP a lot in nearby municipality of Minglanilla. The land is owned by a certain Ceniza, a private individual. The scheme, since the executive cannot lobby for the passing of the resolution, is to organize the illegal occupants and ask for “x” amount to buy the private lot in Minglanilla from Ceniza and give it to DAP in compliance with the land swap agreement.

    Hmm… It seems to me that someone on the LGU side is acting as a realty broker to earn. Worse, without the consent of DAP, someone from the Ceniza camp told residents to prepare P100,000 or else, they will be evicted.It was only later that I learned that the P100,000 to be collected from more or less 200 families will be used to buy Ceniza’s lot in Minglanilla.

    Upon knowing this, DAP wrote stakeholders that they do not allow such collection and that they do not consent it.

    The version of land swapping by JBR is somehow as preternatural as his personality. It’s a simple logic, it should be a government property since the transaction is government entity to government entity. There should be no private entity to meddle. So what is Ceniza doing in the picture?

    With this event, vice mayor and lawyer Romeo Villarante is also consulting stakeholders on a possible win-win solution. Meanwhile district representative Gerard Anthony “Samsam” Gullas is also entering the picture, wanting solutions to the dispute.

    With the upcoming elections, everybody wants to be a hero. Well, let us

    see who can solve the dispute and provide the land for the 600 families illegally occupying the DAP lot.

    The solution is actually logical and simple: Look for a ready lot of more or less the same value for swap and have the council pass a resolution authorizing such transaction. That’s the immediate and easiest way to resolve it. And whoever can facilitate that will be the hero in time for the 2016 elections.

    So, do you have what it takes to be what Talisaynons want? Be the pogi they need! Now get to work and rise to fame. Whoever can resolve the problem will get pogi points.

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