Inter-Agency Committee to look into Agusuhin issue
Subic Bay Freeport Zone. The Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) is now heading an inter-agency committee composed of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) represented by Ameth dela Llana and Sonny Pomarada, office of the Subic mayor represented by Dick Otero, Agusuhin Neighborhood Association (ANA) represented by its president Lapacita Nebres, Samahan ng Malaya at Nagkakaisang Residente ng Agusuhin (SAMANRA) represented by its president Reynaldo Samonte, and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) represented by Valente Rigor.
The first meeting of this inter-agency committee was held last May 9, 2006 at the boardroom of SBMA which was presided over by PCUP chairman undersecretary Percival C. Chavez and attended by Zambales vice governor Ramon G. Lacbain II, SBMA chairman Feliciano Salonga, SBMA senior deputy administrator for special operations Atty. Ramon Agregado, SBMA Ecology Center Manager Ameth dela Llana, Sonny Pomarada, Dick Otero representing the mayor of Subic, other staff from PCUP and CHR as well as leaders and members of SAMANRA and ANA.
The meeting was called by PCUP in reaction to the formal complaint of Zambales vice governor Ramon Lacbain II on the series of demolition of houses and other improvements of affected residents in sitio Agusuhin, brgy. Cawag, Subic, Zambales to give way to a Korean shipyard project.
“We have brought to the attention of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the different issues and concerns of the affected residents and she has given the go signal to proceed with the creation of the inter-agency committee so that the necessary social preparations can be undertaken in accordance with executive order 152 of the president”, according to undersecretary Chavez.
Now on its fourth meeting today 18 May 2006 since the committee was created, it is expected to settle the issues and concerns of affected residents on the just compensation for their houses and other improvements, acceptable relocation site and livelihood opportunities during construction and actual operations of the shipyard by Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co. Ltd.
Vice governor Lacbain extends his appreciation to the PCUP and the CHR for immediately acting on his complaints in behalf of the residents of sitio Agusuhin regarding the demolition of their houses and other improvements.
“I strongly believe that the residents of sitio Agusuhin must be the first to benefit form the project through just compensation, acceptable relocation and livelihood opportunities. They have never been against the Korean shipyard project so I call on my fellow local officials not to confuse the public. It is the inaction and abuses of my fellow local officials that the people are resisting”, according to vice governor Lacbain.
PCUP chairman Chavez sent a letter to SBMA chairman Salonga dated May 15, 2006 requesting for a temporary suspension of the dismantling of houses of poor families in the interest of just and humane demolition and eviction. He cited section 28 of RA7279 (Urban Development Housing Act of 1992) that provides that execution of eviction or demolition orders shall be done during office hours from Mondays to Fridays and during good weather condition upon the consent of affected families.
There are still more than 100 families who are still staying in sitio Agusuhin who are now leaving in shanties after their houses were demolished without just compensation while another 60 families are now staying in the municipal gymnasium at Subic, Zambales.