ONE PERSISTENT social problem government has perennially FAILED to address concerns landowners whose landholdings – those not covered by government’s land reform statutes, we mean – are invaded by SQUATTERS.
This country is not wanting in laws that deal with this ‘special’ class of supposed underprivileged now euphemistically referred to as INFORMAL SETTLERS.
We used to have PD 772 on urban squatting.
We still have a caboodle of substantive and procedural provisions in our Civil Code and Rules of Civil Procedure dealing with property, protection of property rights and evicting trespassers/forcible entrants.
But to this day, our legitimate landowners’ chagrin over illegal settlers appears to have no prompt solution in sight.
The problem, in fact, has exacerbated, seemingly aided, in great measure, by a pattern of outstretched judicial interpretation of the constitutional provision on social justice that the growing number of squatters now conveniently invoke/resort to.
But we shall treat the concept of SOCIAL JUSTICE one day.
Meanwhile, the children and direct heirs of the late spouses Romulo Alcasabas and Mi-lagros Zorilla who inherited from the latter a 27-hectare ag-ricultural land in Brgy. Inayapan, Sta. Maria, Bulacan, appear stuck to their endless nightmare with squatters on their land.
Manolo “Boy” Alcasabas, who represent the Alcasabas siblings, lament that they are in continuous possession (thru their designated Katiwala) of their inherited piece of property and have been religiously paying updated realty taxes thereon.
But their desire – consistent with their late mother’s wish – to maximize the land’s agricultural potential not only for their own gain but to be of help to Local Government Unit-Sta. Maria in terms of pertinent taxes to be paid, is helplessly frustrated by the ever-growing colony of illegal settlers on sizeable portions of their indicated property.
Most of these settlers, Boy narrated, have appropriated their occupied parcels for residential purposes.
Others devote their “invaded territory” to crops, sharing not a single cent of the proceeds to the landowners.
And some or many of them even had the gall and temerity to sell, without the Alcasabases’ knowledge and, much less consent, their occupied portions to innocent third persons. ( To be continued)