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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Benguet bucks PMA expansion

BENGUET is set to go against the will of President Rodrigo Duterte on his proclamation to reserve areas in Camp 4, Tuba town, for military training.

On Monday, the provincial board passed a resolution on second reading asking the President to hold the signing of its proclamation.

In a bid to rid the area of illegal settlers, a memo was earlier signed by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu for the issuance of a presidential proclamation granting Philippine Military Academy (PMA) additional land parcel situated in Tuba that will assure the academy a secure water source and protect the area from intrusions and other forms of adverse claims.

On March 20, Following the letter of Benguet Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) Sario Copas, Governor Crescencio Pacalso endorsed the plea of Tuba IPMR Tita Bugtong for the conduct of a public consultation and secure certificate of pre-condition on the area.

Bugtong on March 19 penned the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Chairperson lawyer Leonor Quintayo asking to conduct of the said consultation before the signing of the presidential proclamation.

“The undersigned strongly request that before the issuance of Presidential Proclamation reserving an additional area of 105. 8018 hectares over a certain parcel of land of the public domain for multi-purpose training and other military facilities of the PMA in Tuba a public consultation and Free Informed Prior Consent should be first conducted,” Bugtong said in her letter.

Bugtong added the request is in accordance to the provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991 and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997.

The area being sought is a forested hill covering 343 hectares at Barangay Loakan outside a property being disputed by PMA and indigenous peoples operating small-scale mines.
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