President Duterte orders distribution of land titles to 900 former leprosy patients

CEBU CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the distribution of land titles for socialized housing to some 900 former leprosy patients living inside the compound of the Eversley Child’s Sanitarium in Barangay Jagobiao, Mandaue City.

This was disclosed by Fr. Edwin Bacaltos, who was formerly assigned at the Sacred Heart Chaplaincy in the Eversley Sanitarium but is now assigned in Bacolod City.

He said 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 said.

Fr. Bacaltos said he flew with President Duterte and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino to Cebu City last Wednesday night to talk about the distribution of the land titles for socialized housing at the Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base.

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

Fr. Bacaltos said an 11.8-hectare land has been allocated for the socialized housing projects.

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 disease or leprosy cases.

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