BAGUIO CITY (Aug. 26) — The Organisasyon dagiti Nakurapay nga Umili ti Syudad (Ornus), an urban poor organization, and some residents of Cypress Point, UP Village and San Carlos Heights in Barangay Irisan here explained that a document dubbed by critics as a “poison letter” is an organizational paper that would be presented before the congress of the Irisan Peooples Action against Demolition and for Good Governance (IPADeGG).
Geraldine Cacho of Ornus said the paper entitled Land to the Landless, Land to Actual Occupants: A Report on the Irisan peoples Capacity Building Work was a discussion paper to be tackled on August 27 during the first IPADeGG general assembly at San Carlos Heights. She said that it was a report from a researcher of the Tebtebba Foundation.
“We are just searching for the truth. We want to own the land where our houses are built but we want a fair and clean deal, especially because we are required to pay millions of pesos,” an affected Irisan resident who requested anonymity said.
In a joint affidavit, 31 officers of Blooming Hill Homeowners Phase I and II and Irisan Homeowners Community Association, Inc. (IHCAI) tagged the said paper as a “poison letter” for implicating Congressman Mauricio Domogan, former Mayor Bernardo Vergara and former Vice-mayor Betty Lourdes Tabanda in the Irisan land scam.
In the said organizational document, IPADeGG alleged that Domogan, Vergara, Tabanda own portions of the land sold to Blooming Hill members.
In their affidavit, Blooming Hill and IHCAI officers said that Domogan helped them negotiate a deal with Asia Pine Hills Development Corp. the alleged owner of the land they occupied since 1994. Domogan was then the incumbent city mayor. Tabanda is the former chair of the city housing committee.
The said officers added that they petitioned the National Housing Authority (NHA) to include them in the housing project under the community mortgage program (CMP), and were able to pay some P10 million for the equity required. However, in the latest NHA inspection and investigation, this project was not approved because occupants allegedly encroached on portions of the land intended for roads.
The group filed for reconsideration while complying with the requirements of the NHA, but the motion is not yet resolved.
In earlier Nordis reports, Ornus criticized the CMP saying that the program would push the urban poor into a debt trap. The group added that the CMP is deceptive because in reality the urban poor would pay the land at high commercial prices. # Kimberlie Quitasol for NORDIS