Councilor Vladimir Gonzalez explains the land recovery project on his property in Purok Bayanihan, Barangay Banago.* Nico Delfin photo
Councilor Vladimir Gonzalez said on Tuesday, September 13, that Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez was just being fair when he ordered his firm to temporarily cease and desist from proceeding with its land recovery project in Purok Bayanihan, Barangay Banago, pending verification by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The mayor is like a father of a family who does not take sides when his children are fighting, Gonzalez said.
He understands that the mayor needs to be fair to all that is why he wants the DENR to render its opinion on the matter, Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said his firm, Home Invest Ventures Inc., received the cease and desist notice and will respect and abide by the mayor’s wishes.
Gonzalez maintained that the land recovery work conducted on his private property in Purok Bayanihan is legal and is supported by documents issued by the DENR, City Engineer’s Office and the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office.
“As far as the land title in concerned the law is on my side”, he said, stressing that it guarantees him the right of ownership.
Barangay Banago officials are questioning the legality of the project.
Benitez said it is a question on whether Gonzalez can restore the property beside the sea that was eroded.
“It’s not just the clamor (of the people), it’s finding out what the rights of the property owner are,” the mayor said.
“If the DENR or a competent agency says that they have the right to restore (the property), then we will also protect the right of that corporation,” he added.
Benitez said his cease and desist notice refers to the ongoing simple embankment using borrowed filling materials and slope protection activities being made by Home Invest Realty Ventures Inc. on its property.
There is a need to verify the classification of the property and whether the activities being conducted on it comply with applicable regulations as may be determined by the DENR and other government agencies, the mayor said.
Gonzalez has inhibited from participating in a Sanggunianag Panlungsod committee hearing on the Banago controversy.*