THE La Trinidad anti-squatting task force is set to discuss plans of removing illegal structures within the Puguis communal forest.
Municipal administrator Miller Quintin said the meeting will discuss all referrals for resolution on illegal structures in the area based on the recommendation of the anti-illegal squatting committee.
A report on the expansion of illegal settlers in Puguis forests has alarmed the municipality including several lawmakers in the valley as they seek solution to the long drawn out problem.
Last week, signs set up by the government were reported to have been taken down by illegal settlers inside the government owned forest.
Last year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has stepped in to protect the communal forest.
Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) officer Julio Lopez said that an additional staff will be added to the three municipal hired Bantay Gubat, and two Penro staff to help protect the forest.
The DENR, La Trinidad Municipal Government, and land claimants led by Pedro Isican earlier agreed to maintain status quo within the forest to ensure peace and order and prevent further destruction in the area while awaiting for the legal cases to be resolved and ongoing joint survey to be done.
This means ongoing activities like clearing, construction of illegal structures and illegal tree cutting should be stopped and no new developments should be introduced.
December last year, the DENR-Cordillera filed a case against land claimants within the Puguis communal forest for disregard and violation of existing laws by building permanent and temporary structures and illegally cutting trees in the area.
The Municipal Council passed a resolution informing the public that no parcel of the communal forest is for sale.
The move aims to halt clearing, construction of illegal structures and illegal tree cutting.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on June 20, 2017.
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