Residents of Pangarap Village in Caloocan City trooped to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) office in Quezon City on June 17 to complain against the alleged from Gregorio “Greggy” Araneta III’s squad.

Carmel Development Inc. (formely known as Carmel Farms Inc.) executive, Greggy Araneta claims he possesses the 156-hectare land housing to 40,000 residents of Brgy. 181 and 182, Pangarap Village, as evidenced by the tarpaulin posted outside the village.

Former president Ferdinand Marcos issued Presidential Decree 293 (PD 293) cancelling all sales contract of the land property between the government and the original and subsequent purchasers of the land including Carmel Farms Inc. This land was then designated, sold, and awarded to low-income families and government employees.

However, during Corazon Aquino’s administration in 1988, the Supreme Court declared P.D. 293 as null and void.

Residents who live in Pangarap Village for decades now protested the closed road leading to Pangarap Village which was barricaded with huge cemented manhole pipes. According to them, the transport of sick and dead people from the village even needed to be permitted by CDI. Even their electricity and water supply were cut off since last year which made them resort to high-costing generators.

On July 23, 2011, residents Rommel Fortades and Soliman Gomez were killed due to gunshots fired by security guards as they joined the picket-vigil of the village. Many were also recorded injured by gun shots fired on different dates. The suspects are still at large.

Not more than two weeks ago, two buildings of Pangarap Elementary School were burned which according to official report was due to faulty wirings. However, the residents doubted the said cause because they do not have electrical supply at the time the school caught fire.

According to teachers, not only that they are having an unconducive environment for student-learning, they have also received bomb threats after returning to the school.

No DILG Secretary and nephew to Araneta, Mar Roxas appeared before the residents but only his staff, claiming that the villagers have not submitted any documents supporting their claims. The residents, however, asserted otherwise.

-Erika Alcantara