North Cotabato: Calm and understanding amid land conflict

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The Provincial Government of North Cotabato expresses its deep concern over the crisis confronting the Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology (CFCST). Reports noted that the protest action conducted by a group of farmers, students, and professors

has already affected adversely student classes and there is growing concern for peace and order situation in the surrounding community.

While the Province wanted the protest action be immediately stopped, we also recognize the protester’s right to freedom of expression. The issues they raised are administrative matters concerning the CFCST President. The demand for the distribution of the unused reservation area awarded to Mindanao Institute of technology (now USM) thru PP428 signed by then Pres. Carlos P. Garcia on July 24, 1957, to the farmers-occupants, is not without basis.

We already appealed to CHED Chairperson Dr. Patricia B. Licuanan to immediately look into the administrative matters and the effect of the situation to the studentry.

We also appealed to DAR Sec. Rafael Mariano for immediate intervention. Efforts endorsing amendment of PP428 has been facilitated for the DAR to legally distribute the unused land way before the Duterte administration, yet, no resolution has been identified.

The Province recognize the efforts of the Local Government of Arakan headed by Mayor Rene Rubino in containing the situation. They responded promptly and acted within their capacity as LGU.

With this, the Province asks the public to be calm and extend deeper understanding of the issues at hand. Likewise, we ask the parties involved to extend the utmost diligence in exercising of their respective rights.

Talks and legal remedies are available for us to exhaust so we can solve this current crisis, as peacefully and justly as we can.

SHIRLYN D. MACASARTE-VILLANUEVA, RN
Acting Governor

Cotabato Province

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