Benguet protests titling of Wangal stock farm-A A +A
Friday, September 13, 2013
MISERY needs company, and if it's any consolation at all, Baguio is not by its lonesome in its woes over the arbitrary titling of government reservations in favor of private claimants, Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan told the Regional Development Council (RDC) on Thursday.
The National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) issued sometime last year a certificate of ancestral land title (CALT) over a 54-hectare area of the former stock farm of the Benguet State University at Wangal, La Trinidad, Benguet.
Fongwan said BSU earlier transferred ownership of the stock farm to the Benguet Provincial Government in exchange for the province’s lot at Km. 5, La Trinidad, Benguet adjacent to the university compound.
An aide of the governor identified the provincial lot transferred to BSU as the site on which the former Ilang Elementary School, now the BSU elementary department, was built. Because of the land swap, Fongwan said, the province constructed the Benguet provincial sports complex in the former stock farm now covered by the CALT in favor of a private claimant. The area also houses the regional offices of the Department of Education and National Irrigation Administration, the Cordillera Regional Science High School and the Benguet National High School, together with the provincial office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The governor said once his office learned of the issuance of the CALT, the province filed a protest seeking its nullification and to prevent its being registered with the provincial registry of deeds.
Fongwan made the revelation as he joined Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan in cautioning the RDC from endorsing resolutions seeking government agencies concerned to speed up the processing and registration of CALTs and ancestral domain titles (CADT).
Such resolutions, Domogan said, would be practical if all CALT and CADT applications are legitimate and non-contentious; do not overlap similar claims and prior vested rights or proclamations declaring areas as government reservations, parks or watersheds before these were subjected to ancestral claims.
“We would be complicating the issues if we adopt the resolution,” Domogan said, pointing out the city is embroiled in legal suits seeking nullification of CALTs and private land titles issued by the NCIP and the Land Registration Authority over parks, watersheds and reservations in Baguio. (Ramon Dacawi)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 14, 2013.