A TEAM tasked to investigate the ongoing land mess in Cabinet Hill recommended the immediate demolition of illegal structures and the issuance of Certificate of Allocations to bona fide residents in the area.
Members of the Cabinet Hill Neighborhood Association Inc. (CHNAI) earlier sought the immediate conduct of a re-survey of their lots to finally allocate to bona fide residents the 2.2 hectares covered by Republic Act 8963.
While the re-survey has been ordered in September 2015 by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), members of the CHNAI are asking to immediately pursue the re-survey of the lots now occupied by actual lot occupants for proper disposition.
In the Joint Investigation Report submitted by Engineer Christopher Degay of the DENR, it was recommended the vacant lots within the forested areas of Parcel III, Forbes Park, a segregation survey from the approved plan of TS–CAR – 000383 will be conducted and approved by the DENR and the corresponding Certificates of Allocation issued covering the vacant lot will be cancelled due to the non-existing ground improvement up to the time of investigation.
The Joint Investigation Report stated that Parcel III, located within Forbes Park, should be permanently fenced after demolishing structures introduced by illegal occupants.
Parcel III will also be utilized as a green belt area and will serve as a tree planting site of public lands applicants as requirement in the processing and approval of Public Land Applications.
Presidential Proclamation 8963, declaring the area to be residential, should also be amended, segregating the vacant forested area from those released and actually occupied lots.
The recommendation added the remaining vacant lots, which are applied or allocated to certain individuals, except those found within the forested area, be immediately and directly sold to re-appropriated to qualified applicants pursuant to Republic Act 730, permitting the Sale Without Public Auction of Public Lands of the Republic of the Philippines for Residential Purposes to Qualified Applicants under certain conditions.
The joint report was issued to match the actual situation on the ground, which based on series of surveys conducted over the years, is not in consonance with the approved survey plan.
It was learned that the alleys and lots indicated in the plan were not the realities on the actual site.
CHNAI revealed that several anomalies were found during an earlier survey, citing a particular lot allocated to one Rogelio Galica Jr. is occupied by another, while one lot claimed by one Leo Gutierrez is now occupied by a structure owned by another person.
In a special order issued by DENR–Cordillera dated April 13, 2016, a verification survey team was once again constituted to ascertain the position and the description of the existing survey monuments or markers, buildings, fences, walls and other permanent improvement which are used to provide as evidence of original boundaries.
At the same time, the team is also tasked to give primary consideration to original survey marks except where other evidence, including original measurements, position of improvements or statements by occupants, suggest the original markers were incorrectly placed or have been disturbed.
RA 8963 has excluded from the Baguio townsite reservation and from the operation of proclamations 10 and 63, which established the Forbes Forest Reservation and the Government Center Reservation, respectively.
The law also declared portions of lots 1, 2,3,4,5, and 6 covered by the same reservations as alienable and disposable for allocation to qualified applicants.
Lot 3, which used to be part of the Forbes Park, covers part of what is now Cabinet Hill. (Roderick Osis)