Capitol recovers 19 more Viscom lots

AFTER almost 30 years and four administrations, the land dispute involving the 80-hectare Visayas Command (Viscom) headquarters in Barangay Apas, Cebu City, has finally been settled.

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and Department of National Defense (DND) Senior Undersecretary/Office-in-Charge Carlito Galvez Jr. signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that allows Capitol to keep custody of 19 lots occupied by the Viscom.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., witnessed the MOA signing at the Mactan–Benito Ebuen Air Base on Monday, Feb. 27, 2023.

On Oct. 12, 2009, the Province and DND had executed a MOA to establish reciprocal commitments on the relocation and functional replication of the buildings/structures/facilities including roadnets, electric and water facilities of the Central Command (Centcom) headquarters and its tenants and supporting units.

The relocation of the Centcom (now Viscom) from its present location at Camp Lapulapu, Cebu City and its replication elsewhere had been agreed on in 2007. Under a 2007 memorandum of understanding, the Capitol would allot P1 billion for the replication of the military facility.

Under the MOA signed Monday, the parties agreed that the provisions regarding the swapping of certain donated and expropriated real properties under the 2009 MOA can no longer be carried out due to the conditions stipulated in the deed of donation and expropriation proceedings, that in case of non-use or use other than military purposes, ownership of the properties would revert to the original owners.

Cebu Province also agreed to jointly assume the obligation with the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) over the lots covered under Presidential Proclamation 409, s-2003 (PP409), including dealing and negotiating with the informal settlers of these lots.

PP 409, signed on June 23, 2003, was issued by then President (now Pampanga congresswoman) Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to declare a part of the military headquarters in Barangay Apas as a socialized housing site.

Under the MOA, a Joint Technical Working Group will be created to address the concerns of the occupants as identified and listed by the DHSUD of the lots covered by PP409.


The DND agreed to turn over to Cebu Province a total of 19 titles, 18 of them for safekeeping until the legal issues regarding PP409 and the occupants of the lots are settled with finality, and one of the 13 remaining lots for turnover upon functional replication of the DND-Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) affected structures.

The 12 remaining titles will be turned over to the Capitol upon the completion of the relocation and replication of the buildings, structures, and facilities of affected Viscom units in their respective identified relocation sites.

Cebu Vice Gov. Hilario Davide III and AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Andres Centino signed as witnesses.

On Oct. 3, 2022, DND Secretary Jose Faustino turned over to Garcia the titles of 17.5 hectares covering an initial 16 parcels of lots. The full 80 hectares involve a total of 47 parcels of land.

The Cebu Provincial Government, under then governor Jose Briones, donated the 80-hectare property to the then 3rd Military Area in 1959, on condition that it be used for military purposes only. It later became Camp Lapulapu, the headquarters of the AFP Central Command.

Garcia’s father, then governor Pablo Garcia, rescinded the donation in 1995 after finding that some lot parcels were used for a golf driving range and homes for military personnel and informal settlers.

In her first term as governor in 2005, Garcia filed an ejectment case against Centcom to reclaim the entire property. The Supreme Court affirmed Capitol’s ownership of the lots in 2019.