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Iligan mediates Sarip-Lafarge dispute

By Frank E. Dosdos, Jr.

The City government of Iligan stood in between the Sarip Clan of barangay Kiwalan and LaFarge Corporation to help find a solution to their property boundary dispute that erupted recently when the latter began fencing its property.

It was learned that the Sarip Clan represented by Macasalong Sarip through a letter to Acting Vice-Mayor Providencio Abragan Jr., dated June 28, 2015 asked the Sangguniang Panlungsod to 1) Stop the Operation of Lafarge Plant 2) remove the military presence in Purok 16 – Hardin in Kiwalan 3) respect human rights 4) respect Muslim traditions 5) stop the destruction of the environment.

The said letter was referred to the Committee on Civil, Political and Human Rights chaired by Councilor Emmanuel Salibay who immediately called a public hearing last July 6.

According to the letter of Sarip when LaFarge started fencing its premises on June 17, it brought around 300 military soldiers.

It also mentioned that their human rights and Muslim tradition was violated when the Chief of Police Station 3 let his K9 smell some of them who just came from their Ramadan prayer.

During the public hearing Councilor Emmanuel Salibay told the parties that the LaFarge Plant cannot just be closed because it has complete documents to support its operation.

Lt. Col. Anton Abrina, Commander of the 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, denied having 300 soldiers in the premises saying that at the time he had only 10 soldiers inside LaFarge and only 3 of them were seen at the fencing site.

The Chief of PNP Station 3 said that his dog was not a K9 but a personal pet that he brings along with him most of the time.

He said that he did not have the intention to have his dog sniffed those who came and he did not know that being smelled by a dog is against Muslim tradition.

Pertaining to the land dispute, Atty. Robert Padilla who represented LaFarge manifested that not the Sangguniang Panlungsod but the Court only can resolve the question over the disputed property.

A woman in the group from the Sarip Clan agreed.

It was observed that Macasalong Sarip who signed the letter did not appear during the hearing.

An observer reportedly saw Sarip during the session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod in the past week.

He was reportedly with former ARMM Assemblywoman Samira Gutoc-Tomawis who appears eager to intercede on behalf of the Sarip Clan.

During the said public hearing, Gutoc-Tomawis told this writer over her mobile phone that she was attending an important meeting of the Bangsamoro Transition Committee far from Iligan. The New Ranao Star
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