Congress’ hand sought in Davao?s boundary disputes with NoCot, Bukidnon

Proposed by Councilor Nilo Abellera, the Sangguniang Panlungsod unanimously approved the resolution, one of two tackled in the regular session on boundary disputes. The councilor said he recognized the process would take a long time.


But Abellera said they need to uncover the nuances of the dispute and admitted they have not yet coordinated with the provincial governments concerned. The SP resolution came seven years after the first initiative by the legislative councils of this city and North Cotabato to resolve the issue.


The resolution, he said, would be sent to the Senate and the House of Representatives, with copies to be furnished to the governors and board members of Bukidnon and North Cotabato.


The SP, in its resolution, noted that only Congress has the sole authority to officially delineate, resolve and approve laws regarding boundaries.


The resolution cited the need for the intervention of the national lawmakers amid possible impact of the boundary disputes to taxation, registration of voters, land assessment, environment planning, and comprehensive land use plan.


Abellera cited a resolution passed on Jan. 2, 1999 to constitute a survey team to continue the conduct of a survey to cover the affected areas between Davao City and North Cotabato.


The resolution was passed in a joint session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Davao and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of North Cotabato held in Kidapawan City.


The resolution cited that both legislative bodies have recognized the need to settle the existing boundary dispute in "the most expeditious and mutually acceptable and equitable manner."


It also cited the agreement to continue the stalled relocation survey of the areas affected, to extend support to and cooperation with the survey team.


But Abellera said nothing happened out of it even with the organization of the survey team, which was given 90 days to complete the survey. Later that year, the city council also created an ad hoc committee to look into the matter, as well as the city’s boundary dispute with Bukidnon.