BCDA questions land distribution

Posted on February 17, 2012

STATE-OWNED Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) questioned the Agrarian Reform department’s move to issue land titles for a Morong, Bataan property owned by the former agency, saying its farmer beneficiaries are allegedly involved in fraud.

The BCDA board, led by chairman Felicito C. Payumo, ordered an investigation into the issue involving the public firm’s 192 hectares of land now serving as the site of the Bataan Technology Park, the agency said in a statement yesterday.

Certain officials from the Executive department reportedly awarded land titles to 67 "questionable" farmers, forcing BCDA to seek from the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator in Dinalupihan the annulment of its land distribution program and the immediate cancelation of the Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) issued in 2008.

The six separate petitions by BCDA called the land titling "irregular, erroneous, illegal, and anomalous" as the 67 beneficiaries listed in Agrarian Reform department’s documents were not known residents of Morong.

The property in Barangays Sabang and Binaritan was the former site of the defunct Philippine Refugee Processing Center Complex which BCDA transformed into an industrial estate for information technology (IT) investments and eco-tourism.

The economic zone is managed by the state-owned corporation’s subsidiary Bataan Technology Park, Inc.

The land in contention was first handed to BCDA for management in March 1997 by former president Fidel V. Ramos through Proclamation 984 which created the Morong Special Economic Zone.

In May 2004, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo then issued Special Patent 3642 which confirmed the landholding to BCDA. -- Eliza J. Diaz