CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of National Defense (DND) turned over 16 parcels of lands back to the Cebu Provincial Government in a ceremony held Monday, October 3.

The AFP Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Bartolome Vicente Bacarro and DND Senior Undersecretary and Officer-in-Charge Jose Faustino Jr graced the event at the Capitol Social Hall in Cebu City.

Lieutenant General Bacarro said the ceremonial turnover of the expropriated lots exhibited the noble intent of the DND and the AFP to abide by the decision of the Supreme Court issued last 01 April 2019 which is to handover the possession, the administration and the control of the donated lots back to the Cebu Provincial Government.

“The turn of events leading to the series of engagements between the DND, AFP and the Cebu Provincial Government highlighted the strong teamwork of our agencies and the diplomatic approach that we all espouse in deliberating the available courses of actions in order to achieve a mutually-beneficial result,” he said.

In 1959, the provincial government of Cebu donated lots to the AFP to be used specifically for military purposes. The donation consisted of 47 parcels of land with a total area of 806,943 square meters to be used by the Third Military Area, now known as Visayas Command (VISCOM), for the battalion combat teams, military exercises, camps and offices.

The donation came with the condition that in the event of land use or use other than for military purposes, these lands shall be reverted to the provincial government. The recovery of these parcels of lands went through a long process which began 12 years ago.

“Our eagerness to work with the provincial government is founded not only on respect for the rule of law or compliance with the decision of the Supreme Court but also on our fervent desire to cultivate a solid relationship for the benefit of everyone especially the local communities directly impacted by the situation,” said Senior Undersecretary Faustino.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia presided over the ceremonial turnover and signing of the deed of conveyance. Also present were Vice Governor Hilario Davide III and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

In his message LtGen Bacarro said the AFP looks forward to strengthening the continuing partnership between the AFP and the local government in serving the best interest of the good people of Cebu.

“Rest assured that the AFP through the Visayas Command, shall remain as your reliable, credible and highly capable partner in protecting the peace and facilitating development in your communities,” the AFP Chief of Staff said.///

(Photo by A2C Ted Castro PAF/PAOAFP)