‘Re­spect SC de­ci­sion’


Sun.Star Baguio - - Front Page - Jonathan Llanes Sun*Star Re­porter

A LAW­MAKER urges stake­hold­ers to im­me­di­ately carry – out the de­ci­sion of the Supreme Court in nul­li­fy­ing sev­eral land claims in the Sum­mer Cap­i­tal.

Baguio City Con­gress­man Mar­quez Go pointed out the need to re­spect the re­cent de­ci­sion of the SC nul­li­fy­ing the an­ces­tral land claims of sev­eral lands in the city.

“I hope that the de­ci­sion is with fi­nal­ity al­ready but this will prob­a­bly give more chal­lenge to the NCIP that when is­su­ing ti­tles, this should re­ally be stud­ied to en­sure that other land ti­tles will not be nul­li­fy­ing fu­ture ti­tles,” Go said.

The Supreme Court has nul­li­fied 28 ti­tles

within the por­tion of the Pres­i­den­tial Man­sion, Wright Park and a pre­war ho­tel, af­ter rul­ing that the Sum­mer Cap­i­tal is ex­empted from the an­ces­tral land pro­vi­sions of the Indigenous Peo­ples Rights Act of 1987 (Ipra, or Repub­lic Act No. 8371).

Sec­tion 78 of the law pro­tects and en­force indigenous Filipino rights “ex­pressly ex­cludes the city of Baguio from the ap­pli­ca­tion of the gen­eral pro­vi­sions of the IPRA,” ruled the high court’s Se­cond Divi­sion in a Sept. 25 de­ci­sion that was re­ceived by City Hall on Nov. 12.

“When we had our land sum­mit in the first week of Novem­ber, we dis­cov­ered that we had many prob­lems on lands in the City of Baguio and even be­fore that, we met with the dif­fer­ent stake hold­ers like those from Irisan and we also found out lots of prob­lem like for­est reser­va­tions that have been is­sued with ti­tles aside from those hav­ing ex­ist­ing ti­tles is­sued by the NCIP. Same is true with the 13 barangays along the John Hay reser­va­tion,” the solon ex­plained.

The de­ci­sion, penned by now re­tired Se­nior As­so­ciate Jus­tice An­to­nio Car­pio, as­serted that the Na­tional Com­mis­sion on Indigenous Peo­ples (NCIP) “has no le­gal au­thor­ity to is­sue CALTs (cer­tifi­cates of an­ces­tral land ti­tle) or

CADT (cer­tifi­cates of an­ces­tral do­main ti­tle)” in the city.

The Court said Sec­tion 78 grants Baguio con­trol over lands within its town­site reser­va­tion. This IPRA pro­vi­sion stip­u­lates that CALTS or CADTs are pos­si­ble in this city if these in­volve Ibaloy land claims rec­og­nized by the Amer­i­can colo­nial gov­ern­ment in the early part of the 20th cen­tury.

The nul­li­fied CALTs were is­sued in 2010 to the heirs of Cosen Pi­raso rep­re­sented by Richard Acop, and the heirs of Josephine Molin­tas Abanag, which the Baguio gov­ern­ment con­tested in court, aside from ask­ing the courts for the nul­li­fi­ca­tion of the 2010 CALT granted to the heirs of Lauro Carantes for a 5-hectare prop­erty in­side the city’s Forbes Park re­serve.

The Baguio gov­ern­ment is cur­rently pre­par­ing le­gal ac­tion against the dwellers of the Bu­sol Wa­ter­shed, in­clud­ing an­ces­tral land claimants.

Bu­sol wa­ter­shed has a to­tal land area of 336 hectares with 224 hectares lo­cated within the ju­ris­dic­tion of La Trinidad, in Benguet and the re­main­ing 112 hectares lo­cated in the city.

The wa­ter­shed pro­vides ap­prox­i­mately 40% of the wa­ter re­quire­ments of the peo­ple in the dif­fer­ent vil­lages in Baguio City and La Trinidad.

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