Eversley Sanitarium dwellers to get own lots under socialized housing

By: Michelle Joy L. Padayhag January 26,2017 - 10:35 PM
President Rodrigo Duterte (left), Fr. Edwin Bacaltos (center) and Secretary Michael Dino are together on board the presidential plane going to Cebu to award land titles to dwellers of Eversley Sanitarium. (PHOTO FROM FR. EDWIN BACALTOS' FB)

President Rodrigo Duterte (left), Fr. Edwin Bacaltos (center) and Secretary Michael Dino are together on board the presidential plane going to Cebu to award land titles to dwellers of Eversley Sanitarium. (PHOTO FROM FR. EDWIN BACALTOS’ FB)

Around 900 former leprosy patients living inside the compound of the Eversley Child’s Sanitarium in Barangay Jagobiao, Mandaue City, will soon have their own lots after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the distribution of land titles for socialized housing.

“An 11.8-hectare land has been allocated for the socialized housing projects,” said Fr. Edwin Bacaltos, who attended a meeting with the President last Wednesday night at the Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base.

The property is within the compound of the Eversley Child’s Sanitarium, which used to be a facility that treated leprosy patients, and where the beneficiaries are also currently living.

The Eversley Child’s Sanitarium “is special government hospital in Barangay Jagobiao, Mandaue City mandated to administer care and treatment of Hansen’s (leprosy) cases,” according to its website.

It also serves other regions, Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) and Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) and also provides basic health services for non-leprosy cases.

On May 14, 2009, former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed Proclamation No. 1772, which amended Proclamation No. 507 dated October 21, 1932 “which reserved certain parcels of land in Jagobiao, Mandaue City as additional leprosarium sites for the Eversley Child’s Treatment Station by excluding portions thereof and declaring the same for urban development and socialized housing site purposes in favor of qualified beneficiaries under the provisions of Republic Act No. 7279 otherwise known as the Urban Development Housing Act.”

The issuance of the land titles was, however, delayed because some private claimants applied to titling.

Fr. Bacaltos was formerly assigned at the Sacred Heart Chaplaincy in the Eversley Sanitarium but is now assigned in Bacolod City.

He and Duterte were classmates at the Ateneo de Davao University and met during a reunion last January 21 at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao City.

“When I got the chance to talk to him, I was able to raise the matter to him,” he told Cebu Daily News.

Last Wednesday, Fr. Bacaltos flew with President Duterte and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino to Cebu City.

“His (Duterte) purpose in Cebu was to talk about the distribution of the land titles for socialized housing,” he said.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez was also present during the one-hour meeting.

Fr. Bacaltos recalled that Duterte also told DENR to cancel the application of the private claimants.

“This is a victory for the beneficiaries,” Fr. Bacaltos said.

The titles should be released within three days, Bacaltos recalled Duterte telling the DENR officials.

DENR Regional Director Emma Melana said they will issue the title of the entire lot to the National Housing Authority (NHA) next week.

“The role of DENR is to give the whole title to the National Housing Authority (NHA). It is the NHA’s role to divide to the beneficiaries,” Melana told Cebu Daily News.

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TAGS: DENR, Eversley Childs Sanitarium, Fr. Edwin Bacaltos, hospital, Jagobiao, land ownership, land titles, Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base, Mandaue Cit, ownership, President Rodrigo Duterte, Sacred Heart Chaplaincy

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