PEOPLE'S Television Network Channel 4 or the government run television network, which has its Baguio station temporarily based at the Philippine Information Agency Cordillera is presently facing a predicament on the legality of the land title it holds.

This after an alleged claimant have shown interest in acquiring a portion of the some 8,500 square meter area where PTV 4 has started construction of its North and Central Luzon studio. As a result, work temporarily stopped following an order from the regional Department of Public Works and Highways until the legality of the lot ownership is resolved.

During our recent third hearing at the NCIP CAR office, both parties presented documents to prove ownership of the contested lot which PTV 4 have subsequently abided to through the City Register of Deeds.

Nine titles have been presented identifying the area to be under the ownership of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Malacañang Manila.

This clearly stating to be under the property of the national government through a deed of sale issued in May of 1942 and still is in active status at present.

I will not dwell on other details since the case is presently being heard.

But one thing good about this legal exercise is that PTV 4 will be the subject for a landmark decision in terms of legal land title ownership viz- a-vie that of a claimant that uses the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act as its basis of having a certificate of land title or CALT.

PTV 4's situation is not isolated as CALT's and CADTs were issued on government properties, public places, reservations without notice to the city government of Baguio or the Department of Environment and Natural Resources regional office.

But good enough for us as Baguio City Representative Nicasio Aliping Jr. has filed Resolution 419 directing the House Committee on Indigenous Peoples to probe titles issued by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples in October last year.

In the resolution, the representative claimed there is blatant deviation from the basic concepts of ancestral lands and ancestral domains on lands issued by the commission.

The congressman stated several CADTs and CALTs issued by the NCIP have taken the concept of ownership of land which might be sold, transferred, conveyed in exchange for valuable consideration.

Among the government properties cited by the representative include portions of Wright Park now covered by 29 Transfer Certificate of Tiles, Forbes Park and Teacher’s camp reservations covered by 3 TCTs, Philippine Military Academy and Loakan Airport Airstrip covered by 6 TCTs, Baguio Dairy Farm covered by 6 TCTs and Casa Vallejo which was nominated as a heritage site before the National Historical Commission covered by 8 TCTs.

Representative Aliping said, “Transfers and conveyances of CALTs and CADTs for valuable consideration render useless the very purpose for which they are issued and deliberately digress from the indigenous concept of ownership of ancestral lands and domains.”

The lawmaker is now seeking his colleagues at the House of Representative, particularly the House Committee on Indigenous Peoples, to investigate and conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation to finally resolve these problems besetting public and government lands including vital historical and forest lands in the city.

The legislator highlighted Section 5 of Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous People’s Rights Act which provides the indigenous concept of ownership generally holds for ancestral domains are the Indigenous People’s community property meaning, it belongs to all generations and therefore cannot be sold, disposed or destroyed.

And to this I fully agree! What about you?