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Maguindanao LGUs resolve territorial disputes

Local News • 02:46 AM Fri Dec 4, 2015
John Unson
Officials seal with their signatures a diplomatic agreement on municipal border disputes between Ampatuan and South Upi towns in Maguindanao. (JOHN UNSON)

TACURONG CITY -- Officials on Wednesday averted what could have erupted into a protracted conflict between two local government units by resolving discrepancies in a satellite-based cadastral survey showing the correct demarcations separating each other’s territory.The survey, initiated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), indicated that five barangays at the border of Maguindanao’s South Upi and Ampatuan towns need to be realigned for having been erroneously charted in the past as common” areas inside the supposedly separated lands under the two municipalities.It was found out that three barangays in South Upi, created in the early 1970s, Pilar, Itaw and San Jose, ought to be inside the territory of Ampatuan, which was established in the late 1950s.Two barangays in Ampatuan, Tubak and Salman, actually belong to South Upi, not in the older municipality, but local residents believed all along their enclaves there are under the LGU they have been recognizing for five decades now.The survey showed Tubak and Salman are under South Upi supposedly while Pilar, Itaw and San Jose were all meant to be inside Ampatuan town.Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and Hadji Kahal Kedtag, who is regional secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, brokered on Wednesday an initial deal between Ampatuan Mayor Rasul Sangki and the chief executive of South Upi, Mayor Abdullah Campong, to have the territorial dispute settled amicably.Mangudadatu and Kedtag, whom ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman tasked to personally address the issue, had convinced local officials to resolve the dispute via continuing dialogues and interventions by appropriate government agencies.Local officials in Ampatuan are apprehensive of a drastic reduction in their Internal Revenue Allotment if the barangays inappropriately placed under their LGUs are to be reverted to South Upi.Mangudadatu said he will send emissaries to hold dialogues on the issue with residents and community elders in the five affected barangays.Kedtag said there is enough leeway for a peaceful settlement of the issue since the DENR-ARMM is still in the process of reviewing the outcome of the survey of territories of local government units in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur. The ARMM governor and Gov. Mangudadatu of Maguindanao want these disputes settled the most peaceful way,” Kedtag said.Kedtag said their cadastral surveys also resulted to the expansion of the area covered by Maguindanao province, reduced as a result of overlapping of its borders with North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat. A big area in South Upi was tagged as inside Sultan Kudarat province while vast tracts of lands in Buldon (in Maguindanao) were placed under the jurisdiction of North Cotabato in the past,” Kedtag said.

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