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Lazatin condemns Anunas shooting; readies raps vs demolition team

ANGELES CITY — Mayor Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin Jr. has strongly condemned in the strongest terms the shooting of residents today, March 12, at Sitio Balubad, Barangay Anunas, where six residents were allegedly hurt. 

This, as Mayor Lazatin said the Angeles LGU will press charges against those who attacked hapless unarmed civilians in the surprise demolition conducted by armed men.

The Clarkhills Properties Corporation had conducted a surprise demolition today after unsuccessful attempts since October last year.

An elderly woman who sustained two bullet wounds, and three others, were rushed to the Rafael Lazatin Memorial Medical Hospital, while the two reportedly in critical condition were rushed to the Jose B. Lingad Hospital in the City of San Fernando. 

One of those in critical condition was hit in the abdomen while a bullet was lodged in the leg of the other one, according to a resident. 

On February 8, 2024, a surprise demolition had resulted to a heated confrontation between the Clarkhills demolition team assisted by the police and the indignant residents. 

The violent confrontation had been played out for several times.

After the series of surprise demolitions, the Angeles LGU said it will proceed with the expropriation of the contested land to bring peace in the area, which is adjacent to the bustling Korean Town and the Clark Freeport Zone.

A mapping conducted by the Angeles LGU had indicated that there were 535 households and around 2,000 families at Sitio Balubad, Barangay Anunas.

Clarkhills had claimed ownership of the contested land after the Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs) of residents had been cancelled.

On February 12, the Angeles LGU led by Mayor Lazatin had conducted relief distribution and medical assistance to the affected residents. Clearing operations were also conducted to clean up the debris left from the violent confrontations. 

Just after the relief and medical mission, Clarkhills security guards manning the disputed area had figured in an indiscriminate firing of shotguns hitting bamboo trees in the area close to the residential houses. 

Security guards manning the disputed land at the back of Balubad fired their shotguns five times at around 9pm after the relief and medical operations of the Angeles LGU led by Mayor Lazatin.

“Hindi na nga po kami makapagtrabaho, sana po matapos na ang isyu na ito. Baka po kasi masaktan ang mga bata sa pagpapaputok nila ng mga baril,” said Maryjoy Paragas.

Paragas said residents had been reconstructing the wall destroyed by the demolition crew on February 8, 2024 when the Clarkhills security guards fired their guns toward their direction hitting bamboo trees.

“Tuloy tuloy po ang pagbibigay natin ng serbisyo sa mga residente ng Angeles City lalong lalo na sa mga apektadong residente ng Balubad, Barangay Anunas,” said Mayor Lazatin, who has vowed to pursue expropriation of the contested land to bring peace and order in the area.

Lazatin, who has met with officers of Balubad Homeowners Association at the City Hall recently, told them that he will never abandon them as the Angeles LGU proceeds with the expropriation of the contested land.

“Walang bibitaw, hindi ako bibitaw, hindi ko kayo iiwan,” he said.