February 8, 2023

Juan Kabayan

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Clan’s claim on GenSan property rejected

A PETITION filed by the clan of a B’laan tribal leader claiming 87 hectares of the 599-hectare General Santos City International Airport has been rejected by the city government on grounds that the claimant and his family had no right to the property.Mary Ann Bacar, head of the City Housing and Land Management Office (LMO), in an interview over the weekend, said the petition of the Zaldy Nei clan asking for issuance of a certificate of ancestral land title (CALT) cannot be granted since the contested land is not an ancestral domain as Nei had claimed.Bacar also said the General Santos City International Airport is a government property covered since 1993 by Proclamation 219.”The Nei clan is not [anymore] a legitimate claimant to the airport area for [it had] been already relocated without [the family setting any conditions for the transfer],” she added.The clan earlier sought assistance from the city council to approve its land titling application for the 87 hectares located in Barangay Fatima.Citing LMO records, Bacar acknowledged that the Nie family had occupied the area even before Proclamation 219 was issued.She said the clan was transferred by the local government to a nearby property after the area was declared by then-president Fidel Ramos as a reservation for an international airport.But the Nie family, according to Bacar, later moved to reclaim the area and applied for issuance of a CALT by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).The family, she said, asked the office of the city mayor to endorse to the NCIP their application for the CALT.Jean Anne Moendig-Zoilo, NCIP Region 12 regional executive director, also acknowledged that the Nie clan has filed a petition for the issuance of a CALT and that their office will process the application upon resolution first of legal issues.Republic Act 9649, which amended RA 5412 or the city charter, provides that the city government should be consulted on matters involving the titling of public lands in the area.According to Nei, he had already acquired a certificate of ancestral land title issued by NCIP Region 12 and the certificate has been published in a newspaper of general circulation as required by law.”The fact is that I inherited the property from my father and I can prove my claim before the court as I stand firm in my fight even if we face the regional even the highest jurisprudence,” he said in an interview.

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