Segregation to start soon

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014


THE Bases Conversion Development Authority and its estate manager John Hay Management Corporation will start the segregation of villages inside the Camp John Hay reservation this year.

John Hay Management Corporation president Dr. Jamie Agbayani said they have finally completed the relocation, structure and utility survey of the 13 barangays in the John Hay reservation area comprising the villages of Hillside, Upper Dagsian, Lower Dagsian, Country Club Village, Lucnab, Outlook Drive, Greenwater, Sta. Escholastica, Loakan-Liwanag, Loakan-Apugan, Loakan Proper, Camp 7, Happy Hallow.

“This is the first time that it has been done in the history of JHMC and we have done it through coordination with city government, officials and residents of the 13 barangays, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, National Housing Authority and other stakeholders,” Agbayani said.

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The village segregation is also pursuant to Republic Act 7227 mandating BCDA to find suitable settlement of the population to former American facilities like Subic and Clark including Camp John Hay.

The JHMC official noted the alarming rate and mushrooming of structures inside the Camp John Hay reservation as in previous census done by DENR in 1991 from only 600 structures covering 324 hectares in the villages, it has ballooned to 2,226 structures in 2013.

Another challenge to the segregation for the BCDA-JHMC and the NCIP is the existence of ancestral land claims in some six villages covering 204 hectares in the reservation.

“We are in the process of reconvening the process of segregation to be able to come up with solutions with the Office of the President and we would like to highlight that the BCDA and JHMC board honors the commitments made to the city government in honoring the 19 conditionalities specifically on barangay segregation,” she said.

The JHMC official said they have submitted the approval of the final subdivision scheme for Hillside barangay, the first to be segregated, covering 45 residential lots.

Hillside, Upper Dagsian first

However, she stressed, the segregation of Hillside as a pilot barangay for the segregation scheme will have to go through the Land Registration Authority and finally through an Executive Order to be issued by President Benigno Aquino III before the lots are awarded to legitimate occupants.

“We have conducted several public consultations and we have conducted final steps in the Land Registration Authority process before it goes to the Office of the President,” she said.

Aside from Hillside Barangay, Upper Dagsian, another barangay with BCDA-issued titles will be next for segregation.

“We will pilot the Hillside segregation. This is the first time but this will be different from the Scout Barrio project that since 2001 we have not fully awarded 100 percent of the project,” she said.

After Hillside and Upper Dagsian, five other barangays will be segregated using the same segregation scheme including Country Club Village, Outlook, Lucnab, Greenwater, Sta. Escolastica barangays and even Scout Barrio.

Agbayani said she has met with Mayor Mauricio Domogan last Friday to discuss his contention on the BCDA and JHMC’s plan to segregate only occupied areas.

She explained the state firm has committed and agreed to retain the remaining forest cover in the reservation.

BCDA president Arnel Casanova said titling process is indeed a lengthy procedure.

“What is important here is that once we have finalized the subdivision plans and have them approved and then eventually the President awards them through proclamation and our role will only be ministerial,” Casanova said.

He admitted processing of papers will take time but stressed once approved by the President the processing of papers will also be hastened.

“Once the instruction from the President comes down it will be easier for other government agencies to implement because that is already a presidential instruction,” he added.

Major challenge in other barangays

But BCDA and JHMC officials acknowledged the segregation process is without any challenge.

Casanova said they admit the problems on segregation of other barangay may take longer due to problems on informal settlers and overlapping ancestral land claims.

Agbayani further said these barangays with existing ancestral land and ancestral domain tiles include Happy Hallow, Camp 7, Loakan Liwanag, Loakan Proper, Loakan Apugan and Lower Dagsian.

“We still have to reconvene the Joint TWG. We did not discuss this with the mayor because it is within NCIP to review these titles,” she said.

While upholding IP rights, Casanova said they have also to weed out illegitimate claims to protect legitimate claimants from what he calls as professional squatters.

“What we are doing now is work in the ground level and doing all segregation plans in identifying who are the legitimate awardees hopefully by 2016 magagawa natin yan,” the BCDA president said.

This as he said the mushrooming of informal settlers in some barangays much more the rampant selling of these lands further complicate things from their identification of legitimate ancestral land owners.

“Ang panawagan sana namin, kailangan din na ang mga apektado at mga nasa komunidad na sana tulungan din ang JHMC at NCIP na pigilan ang pagdami ng mga professional squatters kasi malinaw naman sa batas hindi sila ang lehitimong claimant ng lupa,” he stressed.

This as he added those who have acquired lots later than 1992 should be wary as in the Urban Development and Housing Act it is very clear there is a cut-off date in the acquisition of these properties.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 07, 2014.

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