>> Sunday, July 24, 2011
By Dexter A. See
BAGUIO CITY -- Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan here urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to investigate alleged anomalous certificates of ancestral land titles (CALTs) issued by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples considering most of these have reportedly overlapped private and vested rights over such properties.
The local chief executive said once plotted in the DENR map, the CALT issued to deceased Obalio matriarch Josephine Abanag, over the Wright Park area would overlap a 4,000-square meter titled property of the city government which extends up to the presidential Mansion, a titled property of the national government,
He added there were obvious anomalies in the issuance of the title.
Domogan said if the CALT issued to the heirs of Lauro Carantes over a 23-hectare portion of Forbes Park, a watershed and forest reservation as earlier proclaimed, will be also plotted, it also would overlap huge portions of Camp John Hay which should not be the case.
According to him, the DENR must intervene on this pressing concern of the city government so anomalous CALTs will be subjected to nullification proceedings so as not to prejudice private properties and government reservations which are reserved for various purposes.
The city government is now weighing its legal options to take to immediately nullify the anomalous CALTs issued by the NCIP so watershed and forest reservations and private properties will be spared from being encroached by unscrupulous individuals who are now trying to sell to innocent individuals portions of Forbes Park and the Wright Park areas that were illegally titled in their names.
The title issued to the heirs of Lauro Carantes over a parcel of land located within the Forbes Park reservation is now the subject of a nullification case filed by the city government before the Court of Appeals, thus, individuals interested to buy real estate properties in the city must first validate the authenticity of the title being shown them before formalizing their deal so their money will not go to waste.
Domogan said the issuance of CALTs over Wright Park and Forbes Park is in gross violation of Section 78 of Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) that allows Baguio City to retain its townsite reservation provided that prior ancestral land rights duly recognized by administrative bodies and quasai-judicial courts prior to the approval of the law shall be recognized and given due course.
He said ancestral claims of the heirs of Lauro Carantes over a portion of the Forbes Park reservation and the claim of Josephine Abanag over Wright Park were not part of those which were earlier recognized by administrative bodies or quasai-judicial bodies, thus, the applications for ancestral land titles should not have been given due course right from the start in order to prevent legal problems not only on the part of the city government but also those illegally claiming portions of government reservations and titled properties.