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Census Board to settle housing, population conflicts in Surigao Norte, Agusan Norte towns

The Regional Census Coordination Board (RCCB) in Northeastern Mindanao (Caraga region) initially settled the decades old problem on the census of population and housing in contested areas comprised of two towns in Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Norte, government officials here reported Monday.

RCCB Chair Carmencita S. Cochingco, Regional Director of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in the Caraga region said the solving of conflict areas was done during a series of meetings and consultation which were began last month, and up till last week.

Representatives of the 2010 Census of Population and Housing (CPH) program said problems resolved were in the conflict areas of Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte and Alegria, Surigao del Norte.

“The officials and concerned local government units (LGUs) in the two provinces and affected municipalities and barangays considered all the problems there and finally are starting to settle the conflict,” said Cochingco.

Pending final resolution of the boundary dispute, both parties agreed to adopt the official 2007 maps and 2010 census used by the National Statistics Office (NSO) – Caraga for the population count of Barangay Poblacion, specifically in Sitio Siringan and in the BLISS socialized housing project.

Poblacion, with a population count of 2,383 in 2007, has been the contested area between Alegria and Kitcharao for many years.

Director Rosalinda Celeste of the NSO-Caraga region and Executive Officer and Secretariat head of the RCCB, said her office is considering all aspects to finally fully settle the problem.

However, final determination of the boundary delineation between Alegria and Kitcharao has yet to be resolved before the appropriate forum wherein both parties might resort to.

Nonetheless, Cochingco told both parties during the series of meetings and consultations that the Regional Development Council (RDC) can host one meeting to help the parties finally resolve the said issue.

“The delivery of social services is affected if the issues drag on for a long time,” she pointed out.

“We look forward to the final solving of this problem,” Agusan del Norte Vice-Gov. Enrico R. Corvera also said.

Surigao del Norte Gov. Sol F. Matugas told concerned officials, particularly in the affected conflict areas to “continue talking until all issues in the disputed areas are fully resolved.” (MB)

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