Anti-squatting task force ready to enforce law

THE anti-squatting task force headed by lawyer Miller Quintin of La Trinidad town is set to meet this week to discuss plans on how to rid the Puguis Communal Forest of illegal settlers, said Mayor Romeo Salda.

If the task force will decide to demolish the structures in question, Quintin will then have to authorize Salda for the impending action.

Salda said in a recent general assembly, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – Cordillera and the local government agreed conduct a survey of the entire forest to determine the contested 48 hectare property of the valley.

The area is in the midst of a land mess with areas having land titles and tax declarations.

Settlers have come in and built structures and recently taken down fences made by the environment department.

In a move by the local council, a resolution was passed to inform the public no parcel of the communal forest will be for sale.

The move aimed to halt clearing, construction of illegal structures, and illegal tree cutting with new developments also on a standstill.

On the legal side, court hearing between informal settlers within the communal forest and government stake holders started in January.

The case was filed by the DENR–Cordillera, Provincial Government of Benguet and the Local Government of La Trinidad for violation of the Forestry Code while respondents in the case are Pedro Isican, Robert Dela Cruz, Norman Hogan, Aboli Ginsa-at and Jun Balbuena.

Documents revealed Isican lost in an earlier case filed by La Trinidad.


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