Fund for survey, titling of Baguio lands sought in budget

THE City Council has sought the inclusion in the 2015 annual budget of the P2 million needed for the survey of the city cemetery and the various parks for titling purposes.

The body endorsed to Mayor Mauricio Domogan the proposed ordinance of Councilor Leandro Yangot Jr. "Appropriating the amount of P2 million or so much thereof to be incorporated in the City Budget for 2015 for the conduct of survey and other related activities for the City Cemetery as well as the various city parks for the purpose of having these properties titled under the name of the City Government of Baguio with the Special Patent Program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)."

The City Council committee on Urban Planning, Lands and Housing recommended approval of the measure on second reading.

City Environment and Parks Management officer Cordelia Lacsamana asked the City Council to prioritize the proposal considering the urgency of having these areas titled under the city government.

She said the General Services Office has a similar proposal but it does not cover the cemetery and the parks.

"It is for this reason that the (said) proposed ordinance is requested to be a priority program," Lacsamana said.

Yangot, in his proposal, said section 4 of Republic Act No. 10023 otherwise known as "An act authorizing the issuance of free patents to residential lands" allows the issuance of special patents under the name of the local government for "public land actually occupied and used for public schools, municipal halls, public plazas or parks and other government institutions for public use or purpose… provided that all lands titled under this section shall not be disposed of unless sanctioned by Congress if owned by the national agency or sanctioned by the sanggunian concerned through an approved ordinance if owned by the LGU."

He said the city cemetery and the various parks are covered by proclamation decrees with some dating way back in the 1920s particularly the Baguio City Cemetery by Proclamation 152 series of 1928 covering 9.48 hectares and Proclamation 285(Brillantes Lot) covering 4, 549 square meters; City Hall Grounds by Proclamation 62 series 1925, 19. 687 has.; Mines View by Proclamation 572 series 1959, 21.731 has.; Panagbenga Park by Executive Order 1907 and Proclamation 198, 1, 850 sq. m.; Bayan Park designated green belt area in the final designation of Workingmen’s Village site, Aurora Hill, 2.373 has.; Botanical Garden Parcel 2 by Proclamation 10 series 1924, 15. 525 has.; Wright Park Parcel 3 by Proclamation 10 series 1924, 8.25 has.; and Burnham Park, Proclamation by Gov. General Leonard Wood on August 6 1925, 32. 839 has.

"While these city properties are covered by proclamations and other issuances, these lands are not yet titled under the City Government of Baguio. Titling these properties under the City Government is very much necessary for its protection and in order to delineate technical boundaries, determine actual area, and determine actual size, coverage, and limits," Yangot said.

"With the properties formally under the city’s name, and knowing all the necessary technical data, it would be easier to protect these properties from encroachment and land speculators, informal settlers, dubious claimants, and spurious claims considering that there are conflicting issuances and orders from different government agencies and different claims on these lands by private individuals that even overlap with each other." (Aileen Refuerzo)
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