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Lands, not just water pledged

Titles or 25 more years of stay await villagers tilling the land for decades.



ORION, Bataan — Hundreds of poor families from Barangay Gen. Lim have appealed to Gov. Abet Garcia to help them get back their water supply coming from a natural spring at the foot of Mt. Samat.

In a letter to Garcia, village chief Lorenzo Nisperos said their supply of water was cut off by the barangay captain of Diwa, Pilar town.

Nisperos said that his constituents raised money to purchase a long pipe from the spring in the mountain going to their barangay only for his counterpart to cut it because the water source is allegedly within his jurisdiction.

Raul Mamac, the head of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources in Bataan, vowed to help Gen. Lim residents get back their water supply, saying no one can own water coming from a state park.

Instead of coursing through Gen. Lim, the water is wasted as it was made to flow directly to a canal.

“This flowing water is wasted going to the canal, but what we can’t understand is why the barangay captain in Diwa seems to have taken satisfaction in depriving us of the same,” Nisperos said in Filipino.

Mamac visited the hilly barangay to look at their plight but also to help residents secure titles to the lands their ancestors have been enriching.

“I will assure you that we’ll grant the land titles you are longing for provided these are not under the coverage of timberland and water shed,” Mamac told Nisperos and the residents.

Mamac said, however, that occupants issued certificates of stewardship cannot be given land titles, only 25 more years of occupancy provided they will improve the lots by planting trees on them.

“Just imagine, you’ll be given another 25 long years of occupying the lot as if you owned it for that long period,” Mamac said.

“We’ll be having a ‘Handog titulo’ (gift of titles) program in this barangay,” Mamac added.