PAGADIAN CITY, Philippines – Heirs of Datu Lucas Taug Boto camped out and barricaded along the runway of Pagadian National Airport to demand compensaton for their land, causing the cancellation and diversion of flights from Manila and Cebu.
Several Cebu Pacific and PAL Express flights were either cancelled or diverted to another nearby airport. Cebu Pacific issued an advisory, giving the passengers up to 30 days to rebook or reroute their trips without penalties.
Airport manager Jose Bodiongan hinted at temporarily halting airport operations to ensure passenger safety.
Meanwhile, Pagadian Mayor Samuel Co is in talks with Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Sec Joseph Abaya and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec Mar Roxas to resolve the problem.
Bai Sominal Taug, one of the owners who led the protest, said it was the best way to demand the government to pay for their land where the runway stretches.
In 1997, the government expropriated 3 hectares of the land as part of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Pagadian Airport Development Project.
The claimants took the case to the court after two years of not receiving compensation. The DOTC allegedly failed to pay P8 million as compensation for the expropriated land.
After 13 years of legal battle, Judge Edilberto Absin of the Pagadian RTC Branch 18 ruled that the family of Taug-Boto is the legitimate owner of the land.
Kins of Datu Lucas Taug Boto repeatedly stressed the protesters would not vacate the runway until the government pays them. – Rappler.com
James Annjo Salomon is a Rappler mover from Pagadian City. You can be one, too. E-mail us at email@example.com to volunteer.
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