Surigao City council settling barangay boundary disputes

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/31 August)—The city council here is working to put a closure to the boundary dispute involving several villages, which was caused by the lack of technical description of lands straddling these areas.

Councilor Rise Faith Recabo, a lawyer, endorsed to the city county the settling of the boundary disputes to end the “tug-of-war” among the different barangay officials.

“Like in the case of Barangay Luna and Barangay Bonifacio, these two barangays are claiming a portion of Kilometer 6 wherein a gas station was set up,” Recabo said.

She said that several entrepreneurs have expressed dismay to the boundary dispute in these two barangays as they have to pay dues to both.

MindaNews learned that a number of sand and gravel businesses operate in these two villages.

Aside from barangays Luna and Bonifacio, barangays Sabang and Rizal also have a boundary conflict.

Recabo said the city council will have to pass a resolution authorizing Mayor Ernesto Matugas to approve the recently completed city boundaries and index map.

In a previous session, Councilor Leonilo Aldonza had asked for the availability of the technical description of the land boundaries of the city’s barangays.

The technical description of 41 barangays have been recently completed, said geodetic Engr. Christopher Esparrago, who started working on the project in March 2012.

He said Surigao City’s mainland barangays, which comprise 33 barangays, cover at least 27,000 hectares.

Surigao City has a total of 54 barangays, 21 of them located in the different islands.

Atty. Paquito Rosal, regional technical division chief for the Land Management Services of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said the surveyed 41 barangays fall under the Cadastral Category B standard survey.

This means that we don’t conduct lots survey but the establishment of all control points, which shall be used as reference for future surveys for the purpose of determining the actual land area and establishing of the actual boundaries for electoral exercises, he explained.

Rosal said that for disputed areas, land boundaries could be altered, stressing that under Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of the Philippines, the Sangguniang Panlungsod has the authority to settle barangay boundary disputes.

He told MindaNews that “it should be the barangay that shall identify the boundary of their land area and not a surveyor.”

Rosal noted that boundary conflict arises because of the creation of new towns or barangays.

He said that the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) plays a big part in the occurrence of boundary disputes.

They want to retain their old area for the purpose of the IRA, he added. (Roel Catoto/MindaNews)