THE Baguio Regreening Movement (BRM) is calling on the local and national government to undergo a perpetual usufruct agreement between several government agencies to ensure the protection from informal settlers of the present Watershed and Water Resources Research Center (WWRRC) at Loakan Road, Baguio City.
BRM urged the immediate signing of the usufruct between the Philippine Export Zone Authority, Bases Conversion Development Authority, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Cordillera Administrative Region.
In the weekly Talakayan sa Environment Code radio forum, BRM chairman Erdolfo Balajadia stressed the need for this facility to be protected from encroachment by informal settlers and as a forested area since it is one of the remaining forested area in Baguio City fronting the former Voice of America compound of the former United States military installation.
“Let us not lose this area because of its natural beauty. A proclamation is done by the President and his office does not know that there is an area just like this unless you have an agitation and we are willing to help if you want to start the ball rolling, we can make a petition to be sent to the President for his immediate action provided that this will be presented to him specifically stating its very importance,” Balajadia said.
A usufruct is a legal right accorded to a person or party that confers the temporary right to use and derive income or benefit from someone else’s property.
Usufruct is usually conferred for a limited time period.
The rationalization plan of the government as embodied in EO 366 had clustered the regional offices of the Ecosystems Research and Development Service (ERDS) (CAR, I, II, and III) into WWRRC as one of the centers.
WWRRC focuses on research, development and extension services on watershed and water resources not only within its coverage regions but also in other regions of the country.
“This area is around 36 hectares with a part used for agricultural purposes which is why this is around 33 hectares as of the moment, we are under a usufruct agreement with John Hay for 25 years and renewable for another 25 years. Three hectares within this area have been used by informal settlers which they use as their garden aside from a portion near the road also being used by informal settlers,” said Helen Madamba.
“This is a research facility, we have a learning eco – park for advocating resources and nature which is always being visited by elementary and high school students because of the various collection of plants found within this facility,” said Helen Madamba, head of the WWRRC.