Mayor reiterates equal treatment for IPs and non-IPs-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
"WE DO not discriminate anybody, especially the Ibalois, in the issue of ancestral land claims."
This was the response of Mayor Mauricio Domogan to a recent privilege speech made by Councilor Isabelo Cosalan on ancestral lands adding he is just against the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) issuing Certificate of Ancestral Land Titles to questionable claimants, especially in forest reserves and public parks.
He stressed he respects legitimate ancestral land claims much more the IPs and recognizes their prior rights to lands.
"Kung sino man ang nagcrecreate ng racial imputation na meron tayong dinediscriminate that is not true," he said.
Domogan said the city must treat all residents of Baguio equally contrary to Cosalan’s proposal to include ancestral land titles in Baguio's Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
"We honor both CALTs and CADTs issued to Indigenous Peoples, if they are Ibaloi or other tribes, we honor it basta walang question, but we treat it equally with other titles that are issued and valid," he stressed.
He also emphasized he does not generalize ancestral land claimants as having issues on their titles.
The mayor also shared his agreement to the proposal of Cosalan to come up with the Baguio Ancestral Land Clearing Committee together with the NCIP as the City Government will do the preliminary screening of CALT applications before it is awarded.
Domogan clarified the City Government recognizes legitimate land titles such as the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title issued in Happy Hallow further backing the segregation of these lands from the Camp John Hay reservation.
He said it is the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, which recommends reclassification in forest reserves, including the Forbes Park reservation.
He said many areas here have long been occupied by informal settlers and it was not during his term that these were reclassified but in the 1970s.
"I agree with them na dapat hindi yan allowed but yung mga tao dyan matagal ng nandyan since 1960s pa so yung recommendation from DENR ay maalis sila sa Forbes Park reservation and that these lands are classified as alienable and disposable," he further said.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 29, 2013.