Consistent with her request to the national government since 2016, Mayor Beng Climaco has reiterated the intention of the city government of Zamboanga to purchase the 71.96-hectare property of the now defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) situated in Barangay Cabatangan, this city.
Climaco made the reiteration during the joint meeting of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC), which she chairs, and the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay last Friday.
During the said meeting held under the auspices of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista in his capacity as the Coordinating Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) in the Zamboanga Peninsula, Climaco requested that the ARMM properties be now returned to the national government, as the law provides, so that the host local government units like Zamboanga City can purchase them like those in Cabatangan, including those that belonged to the Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA).
To recall, on May 22, 2018 Climaco personally handed over to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana a letter, containing the list of former ARMM properties located in Cabatangan to include the map and the corresponding photocopies of Land Titles.
In the letter, the mayor informed the DND secretary that the city government of Zamboanga had already manifested its interest to acquire the ARMM properties in Cabatangan.
Located in the area to be purchased are buildings and structures of national government agencies like the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Health (DoH) Training Centers, Commission on Audit (COA) Regional Office 9, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Regional Office 9, the Population Commission Training Center, the National Telecommunications Commission, the Philippine Army Brigade, the Philippine Marines and the Philippine Navy Barracks, among others.
“It is very important that before the passage of the BBL, these parcels of land be ceded and transferred to the national government under the Expanded ARMM Law. In turn, the City of Zamboanga is very willing and able to purchase the same from the national government,” Climaco said in her letter to Sec. Lorenzana last year.
She cited Section 1, Article 17 (Transitory Provisions) of RA 9054 or the Expanded ARMM Law, which states “The land and permanent buildings owned, controlled, administered or in possession of the ARMM located in provinces and cities, which do not vote favorably for inclusion of their respective areas in ARMM, shall be purchased by the national government. In turn, the national government shall, from its acquisition of said land and permanent buildings or strictures, sell, transfer and convey the said properties in favor the local government unit having territorial jurisdiction thereover, and willing to purchase said land and buildings or structures or portions thereof.”
Climaco said the parcels of land in Cabatangan “can be transformed into a government center to cater to the office needs of local and national government agencies and headquarters of military installations situated therein.”
Already, the city government will construct in the area the Disaster Command Center, which will break ground in fitting rites today, June 18. Recall further that the Expanded ARMM has now been effectively replaced by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) pursuant to the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) following its approval through a plebiscite in areas that opted to join the same.-(Vic Larato)