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BuCor stands pat on Masungi ownership

February 17, 2023 Hector Lawas 349 views

THE Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) on Friday reiterated its legal claim over the Masungi Georeserve in Tanay, Rizal, saying former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had reserved the 270-hectare land as the site for the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1158 issued on September 8, 2006.

However, BuCor clarified in a statement that it wouldn’t use the land as a “prison site” but as new bureau headquarters and residential compound for personnel.

“The subject property in Tanay, Rizal will be used as a site of the BuCor headquarters, including its residential uses for personnel and employees,” said the Bureau in a statement.

The land situated in Barangays Kuyumbay and Layban, all in the municipalities of San Andres and Tinucan, Tanay, originally belonged to the national government.

It was transferred to BuCor under the Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) NR. 069-20220110986 registered under the name of BuCor on September 28, 2022, by the Registry of Deeds of Morong, Rizal.

Also, previous to the issuance of the TCT to BuCor, the subject land was awarded by Mrs. Arroyo to BuCor as a new NBP site.

The controversy stemmed after the Masungi Georeserve raised the alarm over the inspection for an alleged relocation of the NBP on the land.

“At about 6 o’clock in the morning of 16 February 2023, five cars and twenty men from the Bureau of Corrections arrived at Masungi Georeserve. They said they have orders to conduct an ‘ocular inspection’ of the alleged ‘relocation site of the New Bilibid Prison,’” Masungi Georeserve said in a statement.

Masungi Georeserve is also laying an “ownership claim” over the land, citing agreements with former Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and BuCor officials that they have the registered land title over the property.

It added that the land was a subject of a joint venture project in 2002 between the DENR and Blue Star Construction and Development, the company funding Masungi.

But BuCor Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Gregorio Catapang Jr. stood pat on the bureau’s claim of ownership over the disputed land in a statement issued on Friday.

“Until and unless the title to the subject property under the name of BuCor has been nullified or canceled through any of the legal means that are available, the Bureau of Corrections will continue with its plan not only in establishing the BuCor headquarters in the subject property but also to establish other prison and penal facilities in the other regions in the country where prison facilities are not yet present,” Catapang said.