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Nagpamudmud ng pera! BCDA’s move to give at least P350M to illegal settlers in New Clark City project is illegal – COA

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The move of Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) led by president Vince Dizon to gift an initial P350 million to illegal settlers in New Clark City project is illegal, according to the Commission on Audit.

In its annual audit report, COA said: “The grant of financial assistance to Project Affected Persons (PAPs) in the clearing of New Clark City to give way to the implementation of the Project has no legal basis.”

“If they are legal owners, as being claimed by a few, the procedure for expropriation should be followed and not the grant of financial assistance. However, said claimants have no valid titles to the land,” it added.

BCDA had approved a resolution in December 2015 P344 million for the 844 PAPs occupying approximately 1,146.80 hectares in Clark City.

As of end 2017, BCDA had given away PP101.311 million to 178 claimants.

COA said that news of BCDA’s generosity had spread among professional squatters as claimants have ballooned to 3,000 on the master list and still growing.

BCDA defended its grant of P30 per square meter (sqm) for the farmlands for a maximum of five (5) hectares which would represent thevalue of the forest and fruit bearing trees subject to valuation of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Environment and National Resources (DENR).

BCDA claimed that it only followed the blueprint of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) in the construction of the Capas Shrine in 2001 in giving out P10.50 per sqm per tenant in the area to be cleared as demanded by the Tarlac governor, mayor and congressman. BCDA said this was now equivalent P18.37 per sqm at present as factored considering inflation rate.

BCDA said the money should not be seen as a mere financial assistance to PAPs but rather as an investment. I

“It is a critical investment considering that BCDA will not be able to build and develop anything on NCC and add value to it if it will not clear the area and compensate the occupants for the improvements introduced by them on the land,” said BCDA.

Consider that in 2015, prior to the start of the development of NCC, the value of the land was pegged at P80/sq. m. At present, the price of the land has appreciated to P1,200 per swm. Likewise, BCDA will be receiving approximately P3. billion worth of economic benefits during the initial phase of the NCC development,” it added.