The City Government of Caloocan has filed a petition to restrain Araneta-owned firm Carmel Development Inc. (CDI) from digging and dumping of soil in a creek inside Pangarap Village, which resulted to deep-waist flood and damage to houses amid COVID-19 pandemic.
Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan, City Environmental Management Department (CEMD) head Engr. Jay Bernardo, Barangay 181 chair Bernardo Quiboy and Barangay 182 chair Rowel Brin, filed a petition for a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary/mandatory injunction on Nov. 23, 2020 before the Caloocan City Regional Trial Court.
In the petition, they said: “CDI’s illegal act of obstructing and impeding the natural flow of water in the creek appears intended for no reason but for the malevolent purpose of flooding the nearby residential community, imperiling the life and safety, and inflicting injury to, and damage to property of more than 34,000 hapless Pangarap residents.”
For several decades now, residents of Pangarap Village have been in a land dispute with CDI after the 156-hectare village became a resettlement area by virtue of a presidential decree issued by the late President Ferdinand Marcos.
On Sept. 29, 2020, residents of Pangarap Village, which is composed of Barangays 181 and 182, reported to the City Government another act of harassment being done by CDI.
Aside from cutting their water and electric supply, residents of Pangarap Village said they saw people of CDI covering the creek with layers of soil using heavy machines for the purpose of blocking the natural flow of water.
An inspection was immediately conducted by the City Government, which later confirmed the illegal occupation, exploitation, abuse, and obstruction in the creek.
On Oct. 16, 2020, the City Government sent a letter to CDI to stop the illegal activities in the creek and to restore it. Despite the demand, CDI refused and failed to heed the call of the City Government.
“The creek is of the public dominion and may not be occupied, appropriated, obstructed, or abused by respondent CDI,” the petition reads.
It also added that “CDI cannot occupy, obstruct or dump on the legal easement of three meters from both sides of the creek running along its length,” citing Article 151 of Presidential Decree 1067, which states that the three meter easement along the length of a stream or creek shall be for public use for recreation, fishing, among others.
The petition also said CDI claimed ownership of the lands in Pangarap Village does not give it any moral right to flood the residences.
“The proper way to solve any property dispute is for CDI to file the appropriate actions before courts, and not resort to extra-judicially measures like flooding the residential areas or depriving residents of basic necessities like shelter, water and electricity,” the petition reads.