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Lazatin orders relief, medical operations in Balubad, Anunas

Angeles City Mayor Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin Jr. has directed the conduct of relief and medical operations for residents of Balubad, Barangay Anunas on February 12, while the Angeles LGU ceased negotiations with Clarkhills Properties Corporation and proceed with the expropriation of land in the area.

Lazatin has directed the City Social Welfare Development Office (CSWDO), Angeles City Human Settlement and Urban Development Office(ACHSUDO), Angeles City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, City Nutrition Office, Gender and Development Office, Angeles City Economic Development and Investment Promotions Office, General Services Office, and the City Health Office to provide relief and medical assistance to the affected residents of Balubad, Barangay Anunas.

“We will continue to provide assistance to the residents of Barangay Anunas,” according to Mayor Lazatin who has already ceased further negotiations with the Clarkhills Properties Corporation. 

The Angeles LGU is now taking steps to expropriate the contested land to instill peace and order in the area.

In a coordination meeting presided by Lazatin’s chief adviser and tactician IC Calaguas and Executive Assistant IV Reina Manuel on February 10 via zoom, they said that the city government is preparing some 1,000 packs of 5 kilos of rice, corned beef, pusong mamon malunggay bread for children, and medicines to be distributed on February 12.

The relief operations, Calaguas said, will be done after the schedule meeting of Mayor Lazatin to the Balubad Anunas Homeowners Officers and Barangay Anunas Captain Augusto Flores.

The Environmental Management System, Angeles City Traffic Development Office, Command Center, and Barangay Outreach Program will also conduct cleaning operations along the streets of Balubad, Anunas.

“Ang mga kawani po Angeles City Government ay pupunta po mismo sa Balubad para magbigay ng tulong sa utos na rin po ni Mayor Pogi Lazatin,” Calaguas explained. 

The Angeles LGU had already identified and tagged some 535 households in the area comprising some 2,000 famillies.

“Considering the present circumstances and this impasse in the communication between the City Government of Angeles and Clarkhills, we believe that the best course of action for us is to proceed with the expropriation,” Mayor Lazatin reiterated.

Mayor Lazatin said the “City Government of Angeles shall cease negotiations with Clarkhills. We will ensure that we will acquire the concerned property in favor of our constituents.”

Emotions ran high on Thursday, February 8, 2024, when a demolition crew with some policeman armed with high-powered rifles had tried to enter Balubad, Barangay Anunas. 

A melee had ensued between the cops and the residents, who pelted the demolition team with empty bottles and rocks until they retreated.

It was the 3rd time that Clarkhills management and Sheriff III Elizabeth D. Marasigan of the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB), tried to enforce a demolition order. 

A letter sent by Sheriff Marasigan to the Barangay Anunas Barangay Captain indicated the demolition willl be implemented from February 7, 2024 up to March 15, 2024, the longest demolition planned so far.

Last year, Sheriff Marasigan had tried to enforce two demolition attempts — October 16-19, 2023; and November 6-10, 2023. 

In each occasion, the demolition crew met stiff resistance.

On September 15, 2023, a meeting between Mayor Lazatin and Oscar Torralba of Clarkhills, had temporarily stopped the scheduled demolition following violent clashes in and around the area. 

A second meeting occurred at the Angeles City Mayor’s Office, where both parties have agreed to a cessation of demolition plans.

In a 180-degree turn, the Clarkhills management and DARAB had proceeded with the demolition last February 8, 2024 to the surprise of the Angeles LGU.

Lazatin has assured that “City Government of Angeles shall explore all possible legal avenues to ensure that the interests of our constituents are prioritized.”