BY BEN O. TESIORNA
SIARGAO, Surigao del Norte – Residents of Siargao Island have long been talking about how House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has gone into a buying spree of properties in the island after becoming the fourth most powerful man in the country.
A property broker in Siargao, who requested anonymity, said many of real estate hunters have expressed their desire to purchase lands adjacent to the Alvarez properties knowing these areas would be developed and their current land values expected to skyrocket as a result.
A piece of land in Siargao normally cost P500 to P800 per square meter a decade ago but since the island’s international exposure as a surfing destination, property prices have soared from P15,000 to P25,000 per square meter (sqm), depending on its proximity to the world-famous Cloud 9, a surfing spot in the town of General Luna.
The broker said some of Alvarez’s Siargao properties were bought back in 2013 before he returned to politics in 2016.
A check with the Municipal Assessor’s Office (MAO) records showed there are seven properties in the name of the Speaker and two more under the name of a certain Anaclito Alvarez and another two under Carlito Alvarez.
Alvarez bought three properties back in 2013, namely: a 4,102 sqm property in Poblacion Cinco; and two properties in Barangay Malinao with an area of 9,433 sqm and a 4,256 sqm respectively.
In 2017, half a year after taking over as Speaker, Alvarez bought four properties in General Luna town alone, specifically a 4,102 sqm in Poblacion Cinco; a 4,856 sqm in Barangay Malinao; a 7,295 sqm in Barangay Malinao; and a 1,796 sqm in Barangay Malinao.
In particular, a piece of land along Tourism Road that leads to Cloud 9 was said to have been bought by Alvarez in 2017 for P120 million from a certain Atty. Diodero Ravelo, reportedly a former regional manager of a government agency in Cebu.
The sale of the property, which is about 4,102 sqm and located in Poblacion Cinco, was said to have been consummated in Cebu City.
Another property of Alvarez is located adjacent to the Bayud property of the Barbers family, near the high-end Dedon Resort, in Barangay Malinao.
According to municipal records, Alvarez owns three properties in the said barangay.
Alvarez also recently purchased a property in Barangay Catangnan, still in General Luna town, which is adjacent to the Catangnan-Cabitoonan Bridge now being constructed.
With the ongoing bridge construction, properties around the area are expected to increase in value soon.
A 2,000 sqm property in the same location that is up for sale in the internet is priced at P22 million, or P11,000 per square meter.
In Pacifico area, Burgos town, a residential area with several huge houses inside it said to be owned also by the Speaker and is located along the Del Carmen-Sta. Monica-San Isidro Road.
The property stretches from the road towards the beachfront and has two layers of gates at the entrance.
From the highway, several huge structures inside the same property can be seen, including about five structures like cottages and gazebos, and a towering water tank.
A local real estate broker roughly estimated Alvarez’s properties in Siargao to reach half a billion pesos.
In his 2016 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), Alvarez declared his total assets at P91.8 million with P5.3 million in liabilities or a total net worth of P86.4 million.
He was the 50th richest member of the House of Representatives. (BOT)