Two firms were contracted to survey lands in Maguindanao that are subject of squabbles by claimants under DENR-ARMM’s Free Land Survey and Titling Project or FLSTP. Philstar.com/John Unson

Private surveyors hired to help solve border conflicts in Maguindanao
John Unson (philstar.com) - December 13, 2017 - 3:18am

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — The natural resources department on Tuesday contracted private surveyors to set demarcations on disputed lands in Maguindanao where many clans are locked in ownership conflicts.

There are many feudal groups in Maguindanao, covering 36 towns, squabbling for control of strategic parcels of lands, some not even covered by Torrens titles.

Hadji Kahal Kedtag, regional secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, on Wednesday said his office hired the Sobreviñas Engineering Services and the BAC Surveying and Titling Services to help address the problem.

Kedtag said the two firms were contracted to survey lands in Maguindanao that are subject of squabbles by claimants under DENR-ARMM’s Free Land Survey and Titling Project or FLSTP.

“Through this project we can also help look on border conflicts among barangays,” Kedtag said.

Kedtag and representatives of the two firms signed the contract Tuesday at the regional office of DENR-ARMM in Cotabato City.

Kedtag said the project, to be implemented with ministerial support from the office of ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, aims to extend to stakeholders free land survey and titling services.

“This FLSTP will help address these land ownership problems. Big clans in the province support this project too,” Kedtag said.

The project is bankrolled with a P42 million allocation from the ARMM’s Regional Planning and Development Office.

Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, chairman of the provincial peace and order council, said his office is ready to extend interventions needed to hasten the implementation of the FLSTP project in Maguindanao.

Mangudadatu said a big number of the more than 80 “rido,” or vendetta feuds, his administration settled in the past five years stemmed from land disputes.

“We shall not hesitate to support any activity that can help foster normalcy in conflict-stricken areas in Maguindanao,” Mangudadatu said.

Kedtag said the project will also complement the normalization agenda of the peace initiatives of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Kedtag said the DENR-ARMM shall also disseminate to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front the modalities of the FLSTP.

“Most of the areas that are to be surveyed are in government-recognized MILF enclaves,” Kedtag said.

The MILF and the government are bound by a security pact, the July 1997 Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities, to mutually cooperate in maintaining law and order in conflict flashpoint areas in southern provinces.

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