Anakpawis.net file photo
Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao is pushing for a congressional inquiry into the alleged land grabbing case in Patungan Cove in Maragondon, Cavite.
In a statement on Saturday, Casilao said he filed House Resolution 209 to call on the committees on ecology, natural resources and agrarian reform to investigate reports that the Maria Theresa Virata (MTV) Realty Corporation has sold the 602-hectare beachfront area to Manila Southcoast Development Corporation.
The MSDC, owned by business tycoon Henry Sy, is supposedly planning to convert Patungan Cove located in Brgy. Santa Mercedes to an eco-tourism hub.
Casilao said fisher folk and farmers group "Save Patungan Now Movement (SPNM)" told him that MTV Realty only owned 13.5 hectares of land in the area.
"The fishing and agricultural grounds in Patungan Cove is set to be converted into an eco-tourism hub in which the cove is also surrounded with various tourism spots and resort such as Hamilo Coast, Pico de Loro Beach Resort, Puerto Azul Beach Resort and others," he said.
Casilao cited the Department of Environment and Natural Resources earlier warning that Patungan Cove is home to a marine reservation area that cannot be privately owned.
He added the Naic Regional Trial Court issued a writ of demolition last July which MTV Realty used to forcefully evict the Patungan residents.
"Since the Naic RTC issuance of the demolition order, the SPNM group is now facing charges, threats, harassment and intimidation committed by elements of the police, military, and private security guards of MTV Realty Corporation and MSDC," Casilao said.
"There were also reports that the demolition of houses, which started in 2012, already displaced more than three hundred households," he added.
Affected residents have refused relocation offers, saying they cannot afford to pay for the monthly amortization.
SPNM members are camping out in the cove to protest the planned "redevelopment" and to dramatize their struggle to protect the area's natural resources. — Joseph Tristan Roxas/LBG, GMA News