A portion of the lot occupied by the NIA 7 on M. Cuenco Ave. was fenced off by the Cebu Provincial Government on Friday afternoon.
A worker who asked not be named said the fencing off by the Capitol hampered the agency’s operations.
“Affected gyud mi kay amoang main gate kay naa sa property nga ilahang gisirad-an. Wala na mi access didto,” he said, adding that a building where they store their equipment also stands on the lot owned by the Capitol.
(We have really been affected because our main gate is in the property that they closed off. We no longer have access to that area.)
He said they did not anticipate that the Capitol would pursue the enclosure of that portion of the lot so soon, or only a day after Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia met with representatives of the affected agencies to discuss the dispute.
According to employees in the area, they were still able to report for work on Friday, March 17.
But people from the Capitol started to arrive early in the morning, and by 2 p.m. they had begun to fence off a portion of the lot used by the NIA 7.
The Cebu Provincial Government owns the lot where the NIA 7 office stands.
Capitol plans to develop the area, which is near the Cebu IT Park, into economic enterprises that will generate a steady stream of revenue for the Province of Cebu, Sugbo News, the Capitol’s social media arm, reported on Friday morning.
Aside from NIA, five other offices involved in the matter had been offered relocation.
Sugbo News said that during a meeting with the governor on Thursday, March 16, three of these committed to sign an agreement for their relocation to other Capitol-owned lots in Cebu City.
The Cebu Medical Society agreed to its relocation to the Department of Agriculture (DA) Compound in Barangay Guadalupe, while the Girl Scouts of the Philippines and the National Food Authority (NFA) 7 agreed to their transfer to Sudlon, Lahug.
The Population Commission (Popcom) 7 was not opposed to moving to the DA Compound but still needed instructions from its central office in Manila on the matter, while the NIA 7 and the Department of Education’s Applied Nutrition Center (ANC) were non-committal, the report said.
Garcia warned that if they refused Capitol’s request to leave the area, the Provincial Government could resort to demanding retroactive rent from them, eviction or the demolition of their structures.
Last Feb. 13, Garcia offered to relocate the NIA 7 to the DA Compound in Barangay Guadalupe, while the relocation sites for the ANC and another agency, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), had yet to be fully discussed.
This came after a November 2022 meeting she had with representatives of five of the agencies concerned to negotiate their possible relocation.
As early as 2006, Garcia announced that she had made moves to recover and made agreements for the recovery of 1.5 hectares of prime property occupied by the NIA, the NFA, the Department of Science and Technology, the Cebu Medical Society, the Popcom and the Philippine Nurses Association.
Garcia had declared when she first assumed office in 2004 her intention to recover Province-owned properties so they could be used for revenue generation.
In 2010, Provincial Attorney Marino Martinquilla said the Province acquired 294 parcels of land in various barangays of Cebu City on June 2, 1918, portions of which it leased or sold to private individuals, while some of the Province’s properties were occupied “by mere tolerance” by several government agencies like the NFA, Tesda and the NIA.