By JUANCHO R. MAHUSAY
CALAPAN CITY – The case filed by the Oriental Mindoro provincial government and its municipal government of Bulalacao against the provincial government of Antique and the municipal government of Caluya regarding its claim on a particular island will continue.
This was so after Presiding Judge Recto A. Calabocal, of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 43 in Roxas in Oriental Mindoro, issued recently a court order which dismissed the motion filed by the provincial government of Antique and the local government of Caluya that the case is not under the jurisdiction of the said Mindoro court.
It can be recalled that Oriental Mindoro, through Vice-Governor Humerlito A. Dolor and Provincial Legal Officer Atty. Kristine Grace Suarez, filed a petition entitled "Recovery and Declaration of Territorial and Political Jurisdiction/Dominion, Prohibition and Mandamus," in RTC Branch 43 last September 12, 2012.
The provincial government of Oreintal Mindoro asserted that Liwagao, a 114-hectare island that is now under the jurisdiction of Antique’s Caluya town, should be part of Bulalacao. The said island is about 30 minutes by boat travel from Bulalacao and is believed to have a big potential for tourism investments.
Because of this latest decision by the court in Roxas, Oriental Mindoro, Atty. Suarez informed Governor AlfonsoV. Umali, Jr. in her memorandum that a pre-trial of the said case was set this June 6.
In the Presidential Decree No. 1801, the island of Liwagao, formerly known as Libago and is in the southeastern part of Oriental Mindoro, is originally a part of the municipality of Bulalacao. It was acknowledged as a sitio of Brgy. Maasin, said town.
During the tear 1978-1979, the then mayors of Bulalacao and Caluya towns, namely Dolores Bago and Oscar Lim, respectively verbally agreed that the island will be lent by Lim from Bago and it will only be returned at the expiration of their term.
In the continuation of the case, the local executives of Oriental Mindoro hope that they re-claim and re-possess ownership of the said contested island.