NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is set to issue the clearance to resume land titling in Panglao Island- -covering the municipalities of Panglao and Dauis.
This was confirmed by Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Charlie Fabre when he met Gov. Arthur Yap at the Capitol Friday afternoon, since the governor had been following up on the matter for weeks with the DENR-national office in Manila.
The action came after two letter requests were sent to the DENR secretary by Rep. Edgar Chatto as early as September last year.
Lawyer Emelyne Talabis, acting DENR director based in Manila wrote Rep. Chatto to inform that the DENR has acted upon the request of Chatto to the DENR secretary asking for the listing of suspension of titling in Panglao island which also affected Dauis town.
Rep. Chatto wrote DENR last Sept 25 and Nov . 18 last year strongly requesting for the listing of the suspension on the land titling. The solon thanked the DENR officials for taking action on his request.
Fabre said DENR-7 Regional Executive Director Paquito Melicor Jr. had advised him, per instruction of DENR Usec. for Operations Jim Sampulna, to prepare for a ceremonial issuance of the order to proceed with titling in Panglao.
The ceremony has been set to be held on February 27 and it would be simultaneous with the acceptance of applications.
Melicor also suggested that it might be better if they could distribute patents previously issued.
He also advised Fabre to invite officials of local government units (LGUs).
He added that the DENR Usec. Sampulna wants to declare during the gathering that a team will be assigned in the island to accept applications. LGUs will be requested to provide office space and the team will not be pulled out until titling is done.
“Our hard work pays off. Finally, after weeks of following up with DENR-national, the ban on land titling in Dauis and Panglao has been lifted already, but processing of applications for land titling will officially resume after the ceremony on February 27,” Yap said.
The suspension of land titling in Panglao was raised by Argeo Melisimo, representing the private sector, during the meeting of the Provincial Development Council (PDC) executive committee on February 21.
Argeo had previously raised the same matter and he was asking for an update as to its status.
Provincial Administrator Kathyrin Fe Pioquinto announced during the PDC meeting that Fabre had already given
an update about the scheduled ceremony on February 27.
Yap relayed this to members of owners of resorts and hotels during a meeting on Friday afternoon.
PDC executive committee members had taken turns in tracing the roots of the problem in Panglao which forced the DENR to suspend land titling.
There were reports that the tourism boom in Panglao boosted the hype of acquiring a property on the island, inviting the creativity of unscrupulous individuals to resort to double sale of lands allegedly in cahoots with DENRpersonnel.
The issue reached the attention of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) last year, prompting the joint inquiry by the Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Committee on Tourism, and Committee on Zoning, Urban and Rural Development.
The SP then passed a resolution, appealing to DENR to lift the suspension of titling in Panglao.