Espinoza: Expelling government facilities? – SUNSTAR


Today reminds us (of course, I’m referring to those born in the 1950s and earlier) of the day Martial Law (ML) was declared (September 21, 1972) during the reign of the late President Ferdinand E Marcos Sr. I was in my second year of college when I happened to have to return to my hometown of Cagwait, Surigao del Sur. After the bloodless uprising of 1986, ML is now a thing of the past.

On Saturday, September 17, 2022, Cebu Media opened their annual celebration of Cebu Press Freedom Week, which is observed on the week in which the date of ML’s statement falls.

The celebration of press freedom week here reminds the younger generation that this freedom would be taken away if a despot came to power. What is to be celebrated on September 21 is Cebu Press Freedom Day, and any attempt to revise ML’s story must be thwarted.

Many suspect there will be a celebration on Sept. 21 after the election of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of Marcos Sr., who has been dubbed Southeast Asia’s strongman. Is during his tenure.

Cebu’s 30th Press Freedom Week also coincides with Philippine National Law Week. It was Marcos Sr. who declared September 19 of each year as Law Day in 1975. President Fidel Ramos then declared in 1995 the third week of September each year as Philippine National Law Week.

During my tenure as President of the Integrated Bar Association of the Philippines-Cebu Chapter in 1999, we celebrated Law Week alongside Cebu Press Freedom Week, although we had different celebration themes.


Land ownership is not only a thorny issue between or among private landowners, but also with government entities. I thought I had missed something when I read the news that the Cebu Provincial Government had asked the heads of Eversley Childs Sanatorium and General Hospital, Treatment Center Department and health rehabilitation and a barangay ward located at Barangay Jagobiao, Mandaue City, to vacate the lands they occupy.

I don’t think Capitol has an urgent need for this land covering 255,540 square meters of land because it owns several other properties that may be open and not occupied by major government offices like the facilities I mentioned. If I may strain my imagination, I only wish this Capitol’s move had nothing to do with Mandaue City’s purchase of the dormant Cebu International Convention Center. “According to the provincial legal office, the provincial government is the ‘rightful owner’ of the land, which has an area of ​​255,540 square meters or 25,554 hectares,” SunStar Cebu reported.

It is just sad to know that even these government agencies built their buildings without knowing the rightful owner. Governor Gwendolyn Garcia reportedly only learned that these lots belonged to the Capitol in 2019. These lots are believed to be part of the friars’ lands that the Archdiocese of Cebu donated to the province in 1930.

Assuming the Province validly owns these lots, should it evict these government offices that serve not only the Mandauehanons but virtually all of Cebu and neighboring provinces?

Employees of these government facilities could only hope that Governor Garcia would donate these lots. They seek help from the mayor of Mandaue, Jonas Cortes. Knowing Governor Garcia’s temper, I don’t think (wish I was wrong) Mayor Cortes can make a difference.

Perhaps if the heads of the government buildings occupying the lots claimed by the Capitol accepted the Capitol’s proposal – that if they had no objection to the provincial government owning those lots, the argument would end. The governor would instead allow them to stay as tenants at an agreed rental rate. The Governor may be fiery in her governance, but I know she has a big heart to help those in need.


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