Mayor Lazatin condemns Anunas’ violent demolition; Clarkhills ‘has no humanity’

Angeles City Mayor Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin Jr. has condemned in strongest terms the violent surprise demolition conducted by the management of the Clarkhills Properties Corporation in Barangay Anunas, on Thursday morning, February 8, describing the latter as having “no humanity and no intention to honor their word.”

“The City Government was under the impression that Clarkhills would stay true to this agreement; however, considering what happened earlier today (Feb. 8), it appears to us that Clarkhills has no humanity and no intention to honor their word,” according to Mayor Lazatin.

In a letter to Mr. Oscar Torralba, President of Clarkhills dated on February 8, 2024, Mayor Lazatin has also said the Angeles LGU will now “proceed with the expropriation” of the contested land in Balubad, Barangay Anunas. 

In a meeting with Clarkhills’ legal counsel, Atty. Gener Endona, on November 29, 2023, Mayor Lazatin has asked the Clarkhills management to donate 3.5 hectares while the Angeles LGU will purchase another 3.5 hectares based on the assessed value that will be determined by the City Assessor’s Office. 

A total of 7 hectares will be made available for the affected families, who had been battling demolition crews in a series of violent confrontations, the latest of which happened on Thursday, which caught the Angeles LGU by surprise.

The “City Government of Angeles shall explore all possible legal avenues to ensure that the interests of our constituents are prioritized. On top of this list is to proceed with the expropriation, which our City’s legal officers are working on as of writing,” said Mayor Lazatin.

Mayor Lazatin said the Clarkhills management has reneged on the peaceful resolution of the issue with the violent demotions “that caused unnecessary chaos within the community and needlessly endangered the lives of the residents in the area.” 

Defiant tenants of Barangay Anunas had clashed head-on with members of the Philippine National Police who were sent to enforce a demolition order in the area. 

The residents pelted the plank of police with rocks while a residential house was razed which led to undetermined losses in properties.

A similar demolition attempt last year also led to the burning of a truck belonging to the demolition team, which led Torralba to the negotiating table.

The Angeles LGU met with Atty. Endona for the 3rd time because the city government wanted to “protect the interest and safety of our constituents,” said Mayor Lazatin.

Clarkhills had requested the City Government of Angeles to halt the expropriation of the concerned land in Barangay Anunas and, in return, offered to donate a one-hectare area for the affected families. 

The Angeles LGU has rejected the one-hectare donation and proposed that Clarkhills donate 3.5 hectares of land with the option to buy another 3.5 hectares for a total of seven hectares.

Atty. Endona said that he will forward the City Government’s proposal to the Clarkhills management and agreed that no demolition will take place while the City Government conducts a mapping and tagging of affected families. 

The demolition last Thursday, however, made it clear the Clarkhills has no intention to settle the issue amicably. 

“In line with the events of today and what appears to be Clarkhill’s lack of intention to come to an amicable compromise with the City, please be informed that going forward, the City Government of Angeles shall explore all possible legal avenues to ensure that the interests of our constituents are prioritized,” said Mayor Lazatin.