CAMP AQUINO, Tarlac—Around 80 soldiers’ families were given reprieve by the Armed Forces.
The military’s Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) extended on Monday the deadline for the families to vacate the land they have been occupying in this military reservation.
Col. Rafaelito Sacdalan, chief of the Armed Forces’ Housing Board, said on Monday that Nolcom is willing to give these families until April 2005 before it enforces the order to relocate them.
Sacdalan met with local officials, led by Mayor Genaro Mendoza, at the Cordillera Hall inside the Nolcom headquarters to discuss the condition of these families in Sitio Village, Barangay San Miguel in Tarlac City.
Col. Preme Monta, spokesman for the Nolcom, said the deal was a “gentleman’s agreement” with city officials and affected families to resolve the issue.
The soldiers’ families were asked by the board to sign an affidavit signifying their conformity to the deal and were given until November 15 to do so. Failure to sign would mean immediate eviction to the military reservation.
It was in October when soldiers’ families received a letter from the AFP Housing Board ordering them to relocate to give way to the military’s modernization. They were given until the end of the month to comply with the order at the end of which, the Nolcom will cut electricity and water supplies.
Earlier plans also included the possible demolition of the houses in Sitio Village on December 1 when the extension for then to relocate would have expired.
The families have appealed to Nolcom chief Lt. Gen. Romeo B. Dominguez to extend the deadline possibly for two more years but the Housing Board only agreed to giv them until early next year.
Mayor Mendoza clarified that the city government is only acting as a mediator in the controversy because it does exercise any jurisdiction over military property or personnel.
“We just want to make sure that these soldier families are given the reasonable treatment as far as the relocation issue is concerned,” Mendoza said.
He said the AFP has agreed to give the city government six hectares from the military reservation in San Jose de Urquico here to be used as a relocation site for other homeless families within city.