SMILES and feeling of satisfaction and contentment were etched on the faces of former informal settlers (IS), who were brought to the new relocation site in Yulo estates in Canlubang, Calamba, Laguna.

They used to occupy Sitios Banias and Matang-Tubig, also in Calamba, owned by the San Cristobal Realty and Development Corp. (SCRDC) of the Yulo family. Some 50 households were already relocated to Sitio Tibagan, where they happily related the “positive change” in their life, following their transfer to the area, which according to them “is more developed and urbanized.” The place though, is still in the process of development.

Fifty more IS are expected to be brought to Sitio Tibagan from the former disputed land, which some of them refused to leave, claiming that portions of the more than 700 hectare landholding belonged to their forefathers, which they later allegedly inherited.

Such claim however, “was baseless,” according to SCRDC spokesperson, Bam Masongsong. He has all the papers to show, indicating the Yulos’ ownership of the landholdings.

Edgardo De Leon

 “Masayang-masaya na po kami dito. Amin na itong bahay at lupa. Wala ng gagalaw sa amin,” the teary-eyed stroke victim, 59-year-old Edgardo De Leon, said. He and his wife, along with their two children were brought to the place in December.

De Leon could hardly move and dependent on their daughter, who works in a factory, for their daily sustenance. He used to work with Asia Brewery. They live in a roomless 50-square meter house and use solar panels as power source.

The local government units (LGUs) provided them with water. At this time, water is provided for free, according to project manager. Eventually, it would be metered, he added.

He also explained that the Yulos, known to be benevolent and philanthropists provided their former “loyal and dedicated workers” with pieces of land categorized into three- Class A, B and C. Their names should be found in the company’s master list.

Class A were those who worked for Yulo family for decades and were provided with 150- square meter real property; Class B – 75 square meters and Class C with 50 square meters. Roy said that most of those workers were already deceased “but the Yulos still considered their descendants from children to grandchildren” to be beneficiaries.

This week, one last “hardliner” Francisca Mangubat and her family finally left Sitio Banias, making the area now clear of IS and supposed landgrabbers.

The real estate originally belonged to American investors who went to the Philippines in 1912. It was formerly known as the Calamba Sugar Estate. During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, it was sold to Vicente Madrigal. Unable to run the estate successfully, he sold it to Jose Yulo in 1948.

Yulo was a bright lawyer and legal counsel of the estate since 1927. He had also served as Speaker of the House of Representatives before World War II and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court during the Japanese Occupation.

The estate was renamed Canlubang Sugar Estate and Yulo improved its financial and social status within two years through progressive reforms.

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