Tadian seeks cancellation of free patents

TADIAN Mayor Anthony Wooden has sought for Department of Environmental and Natural Resources aid to cancel proceedings of free patents in the watershed between Mankayan (Benguet) and the municipality.

Despite the permanent protection ordered by the court in the watershed between Mankayan and Tadian, individuals continue to ignore the court order.

"Those who fight on the watershed insists they have land titles," said Wooden.

The municipality is awaiting for DENR regional director Ralph Pablo decision and action.

Last July 2017, Wooden wrote DENR-CAR to ask for help in initiating cancellation proceedings for the free patents issued over the area and in filing contempt charges.

"We continuously follow up the cancellation of the proceedings of the titles, the DENR should fast track the validation," Wooden said.

The chief executive added the watershed destruction is equally environmental threatening activity with that of illegal mining.

"If they will not stop the continuous activities wherein the forest is sprayed with chemicals, pesticide, herbicides to cultivate the lands while on the bottom of the forest people accumulate water, our people will die," said Wooden.

Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer Melchor Micklay said some 300 hectares including the Sunnyside watershed covers six barangays of Tadian and four sitios.

Delson Palid, Agosto Palcacion, Peter and Marjon Ngawa, Johny Dugao all residents of Tadian, Mt. Province insists the area covered by their titles and lots are located in Mankayan.

For the meantime, an environmental guard house was made to cover the area which is secured by volunteers from the six barangays in Tadian manning in watershed mostly covered by Sitio Sayapat where the alleged boundary dispute falls between Tadian and Mankayan.

The claimants hold patents of 56 titles with some four hectares of every individuals disregarding the court's order said Micklay.

A resolution was also approved by the legislators of Tadian calling for the municipal officials and elders of Mankayan "not to goad their constituents to the destruction of the environment but to respect customary and environmental laws that will put to rest any tension and restore goodwill among our people," said in the resolution.

Moreover, OIC-CENR Officer Modesto Cabatan of Buguias and CENR Sabangan Officer Max Macliing, said the area covered by the titles are forest lands and outside alienable and disposable lands.
This was also backed by Engr. Gregory Dulaycan during the hearings in the Regional Trial Court Branch 35, Bontoc Mt. Province where the municipality was able to secure environmental protection order.

SunStar Baguio in a phone interview with Pablo said he will release a statement regarding the matter next week.
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