Local courts to decide on Masungi row

4:38 pm on 22 September 2022, Thursday

By Glen Jacob Jose

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said it is up to the local courts to decide the dispute at the Masungi Georeserve in Rizal, where armed men reportedly plan to take over portions of the reservation area.

This as PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo assured the public that the police would be just visible to maintain peace in the reservation.

She made this statement shortly after the Masungi Foundation urged President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and other government officials, including PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr, to order the arrest of the armed men from the Sinagtala security agency.

The foundation added that some 30 security guards from the Sinagtala Security Agency had been encamped at Km 48 since last week, preparing to take over a huge tract of land in the protected area.

Sinagtala personnel claimed they have a survey plan under the name of one Beatriz Sonquipal that was reportedly issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office in the early 2000s.

The Masungi Foundation stressed the survey plan is not proof of ownership. 

Fajardo said that they are seeking the help of the DENR regarding the matter.

“If there are issue with respect to ownership, since the adverse claimant is occupying an area and even hired a security agency, I think its best be decided by the proper court for jurisdiction,” she told reporters in a press breifing on Wednesday held at Camp Crame.

Last September 19, police officers seized 12 shotguns and two .38 caliber revolvers from the security guards after they failed to present documents for the weapons, but no arrests were made. 

Upon checking with the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office, Fajardo said the 14 firearms are registered until 2024. 

She said the security agency will still be questioned why its personnel was not carrying supporting documents for the firearms, violating rules and regulations. 

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