SALVADOR Benedicto Mayor Laurence Marxlen de la Cruz said the proposed townsite is “beneficial and necessary” for the local government to perform its regulatory powers over the proper use of land.

The proposed townsite bill was filed in the 17th Congress by Abang-Lingkod party-list Representative Stephen Paduano, along with First District Representative Melecio Yap Jr. and Fourth District Representative Juliet Ferrer.

De la Cruz said the absence of a townsite has deprived the local government unit (LGU) of its power to impose discipline on individuals who use the properties for their interest despite the lack of land titles to legitimize their existence.

"For now, we cannot regulate and impose discipline on people who built illegal structures within the 200-hectare property, which was proposed as the townsite. We even faced harassment cases when the local government built structures for the use of the people of Salvador Benedicto because we still don't have the titles on the said parcel of land," the mayor explained.

De la Cruz said he is hoping the initiative will gain ground so that they can start imposing the needed regulation and discipline to violators and enforce the proper utilization of the said area.

House Bill No. 1361 stated that the town occupies a portion of the Northern Negros Forest Reserve where most of its facilities, including its municipal government buildings, are situated.

A townsite for a municipality like Salvador Benedicto is indispensable for its development programs and land use plan as a local government unit, the proposed measure said.

“After so many years now is the time that official delineation and segregation of such site be determined for the municipality of Salvador Benedicto to move on without defying existing laws and policies on land utilization. After having complied with the requisites for the reservation of the aforesaid parcel of land of public domain into a townsite and finding all the documents in order, it is but proper and fitting that the segregation of the subject identified parcel of land covering 200 hectares be given due course through the passage of the bill,” it added.

At present, the committee report of the proposed bill will be calendared for the Second and Third reading in the plenary, Paduano said.