“There must be no squatter in his own country” – SPDA Administrator Salapuddin

CATALUNAN PEQUENO, DAVAO CITY (12 July 2023) – The Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA) has finally sealed the land ownership to the informal settlers who have been occupying for a decade or more at the Authority’s 36,784 – square meter real estate property at its former organic fertilizer project demo farm at Purok 23, Catalunan Pequeno, this city.


Led by SPDA Administrator and Chief Executive Officer Abdulghani ‘Gerry’ Ajul Salapuddin and SPDA Riverside Village Neighborhood Association, Inc. (SRVNAI) President Ruel Tabada, the ceremonial signing of the conditional contract to sell of the SPDA organic fertilizer project property took center stage Wednesday and witnessed by Catalunan Pequeno barangay officials led by Barangay Captain Rodrigo Tangaro, SPDA officials and employees, and SRVNAI officials and members.


“Starting today, you are no longer informal or self-propelled settlers, you are now legitimate settlers,” SPDA Administrator Gerry Salapuddin was quoted as saying during his short talk.After the settlers shall have fully paid their respective obligations for a period of five years, Salapuddin added, they can already subdivide the property and apply for land titles to their respective lots. “I believe that no Filipino, he be a Muslim or a Christian, must be a squatter in his own country,” he said.


SPDA Operations Department Manager Cristy B. Dagala, before putting an end to the program, disclosed that negotiations for the creation of an association in the area had started seventeen years ago and incumbent board chairman Mr. Joyce Arrey was tapped to organize the residents in the area. Dagala has expressed confidence on the settlers who are members of the riverside village neighborhood association that after five years, they shall have fully paid their respective financial obligations to SPDA.


Corporate Affairs Department Manager Virginia L. Uy earlier disclosed the Authority’s organic fertilizer project was conceptualized during the incumbency of former SPDA Administrator General Antonio N. Venadas (1980-1985) as an alternative to the rising cost of chemical fertilizers in the 1980s in the country. SPDA had pioneered in using enzymes and agricultural waste materials to produce fertilizers right at the present site of the property and were subjected for disposal to the settlers as beneficiaries.


The Authority had partnered with the Department of Agriculture Regional Office XI in patronizing organic fertilizers where raw materials such as corn husks and rice hulls were utilized in the production of the said natural substance for farming and the big banana plantations in Davao Region were among the primary clients of SPDA. Following the deactivation of SPDA in 2003, the project had ceased operations and the property was immediately occupied by informal settlers, some of them were the Authority’s former employees.


Also present during the ceremonial signing are SPDA Deputy Administrator Munap H. Pacio, Corporate Affairs Department Manager Virginia L. Uy, Finance and Administrative Department Manager Ersan I. Warad, Project Development Division Chief Norhan A. Salih, Business Development Division Chief Marlon S. Saloma, Regional Manager Phatt Malun, Budget Division Chief Albir A. Biruar, Administrative Officer Monaliza S. Ampuan, Chief Accountant Norhaysa H. Dipatuan, Property Custodian Baisaganta Ali, and some members of the technical team of the Authority. (Celestino B. Siglos, Ed.D.)

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