BAGUIO City Congressman Marquez Go believes the conduct of the first land summit in the city will help formulate a law in aid of legislation to address the current mess in the Summer Capital.
Go said various issues such as land resources should go through a multi-sectoral study and review on how these government lands should be used for its purpose as defined by law.
“The summit is the start of a long journey to make sense of what is going on with the land situation in our city,” Go said.
The summit aims to study the land situation of Baguio, make an inventory of the various laws and proclamations related to lands prior to the crafting of a bill that would address land issues permanently.
“The rampant privatization and constant expansion of private properties has endangered the delicate balance between environment and development. We must be reminded that if land is abused, so will be the water and the air that surrounds us, soon we will be chocking from the fumes and scents of urban decay and everything that will be discussed here today will will be used to craft or amend existing laws to address the issues whether actual or potential,” Go said.
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong with Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan and members of the council welcomed the summit and reiterated the need for all sectors to start coming up with possible doable solutions to help solve land problems in the city.
“In the coming years I hope that we will all look back and recognize that this event was our turning point and the moment when stakeholders and experts on land issues sat down and finally came up with a doable plans. Where did it all begin and when did this start? I do not want to deliver a message blaming institutions, leaders, political individuals for putting personal interests above the common good, although we have to establish that this is the very reason why we are in this mess today,” Magalong said.
Magalong expressed pointing hands on who to blame should not be the recourse of all stakeholders and instead, come up with doable actions to address land issues and not to allow this from happening again.
“Today, the blaming game needs to stop. Those who are accountable will be held liable in the proper forum. But today as part of this starting point, we will start fresh because despite the scarcity of land resources, overlapping land claims, the mountains of court cases, problems with CALT’s and CALC’s and concerns with safe guarded areas, despite this there is hope. We can solve this seemingly insurmountable problems, the question is how,” Magalong added.
The lawmaker has been earlier asked by residents of Baguio to look into the land problem of the city.
Go cited Slaughter House as an example wherein the government gave the area to the city for livestock purposes.
Government agencies like the Environment, Agriculture, Interior and Local Government, Commission on Indigenous Peoples, together with environmental groups and organizations were also invited during the summit.