24 Nov. 2006
Dear Editor -
Last November 19 issue of The Sunday Punch, Mr. Gonzalo T. Duque, in his column Playing with Fire, made several accusations that land covered by Proclamation 98 have been sold in exchange for several billions that have already changed hands. He even wrote that the city government intends to turn over the National Park to the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources), which is an absolute figment of his imagination.
Recall that President Diosdado Macapagal signed into law Proclamation 98 segregating 72 hectares or 721,782 square meters of beachfront running from Bonuan Gueset, Boquig and Binloc up to the Cayanga River.
Presently, there are national government offices (BJMP, AVRC, CENRO, etc.) located in the Park as well as the amphitheater, Mayor’s shed, Japanese Garden, Central Bank of the Philippines. There are also the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Bldg., Senior Citizens Bldg., Pangasinan Dental Bldg., Free Masons Bldg., PAGASA Bldg., Police Community Precinct, Tondaligan Park Administration Bldg., 215 shed operators who were through Proclamation 98 as per the survey conducted by the city is Mr. Gonzalo T. Duque, who is listed as a partial owner with a market value of P7.35 per square meter dated in the year 2003.
Proclamation 98 in Barangay Binloc has an area of 39.8 hectares or55.23% of Proclamation 98. In it is the City Agriculture, BLISS, Haven for Children, Haven for Women, and BFAR (occupying a chunk of Binloc).
As per the Assessor’s office, no Tax Declarations were issued to any person within Proclamation 98 except for the structures that were granted usage by the national government.
There are only about 25 hectares remaining that is free for further development within Proclation 98. If Gonzalo claims that lands that have been sold inside Proclamation 98, then that could only be maximum of 25 hectares, which he claims are worth billions of pesos as per his “friend accountant who is willing to put his reputation at stake”. Billions would at least be P2 billion pesos to be considered billions. If we divide P2 billion by 250,000 square meters (25 hectares), that would be equivalent to P8,000 per square meter. This will be the safe assumption that his friend accountant might have done.
Thanks to Gonzalo’s revelation that indeed the market value of land inside Tondaligan Park could be valued at P8,000/square meter and could be sold to private entities simply with Tax Declarations (which is not even a proof of ownership), the city could now make a reassessment of the property in that area.
As a concerned citizen, would Duque be willing to voluntarily declare the supposed market value assessed by his friend accountant in the Tondaligan area since his 4.0987 hectare lot is within the vicinity of the Tondaligan Park? By doing so, he shall be doing the city a great justice by adding an additional P2,045,200 on the city’s RPT collection only for that particular land.
If there are sales of lots inside Proclamation 98 or the Tondaligan Park worth billions of pesos, it shall be easy to pinpoint. Investors with such amount are likely to construct beach houses and resorts in the area they bought. Maybe with the accusations already published, Mr. Gonzalo T. Duque could pinpoint these billionaires to the city and publish it. Any law student or lawyer would know that they should verify their facts first before publishing accusations to any entity.
May we therefore request that these corrections be published in your paper in the interest of truth and justice. Rest assured that I am always available for any further clarifications. Keep up the good work!
Vice Mayor Alvin Fernandez