Nullification of Spurious CALTs Lauded
Vol. XVIII No. 8 (Nov. 29 – Dec. 5,2014)
BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan on Wednesday lauded the nullification of three Certificates of Ancestral Land Titles (CALTs) covering key areas in the city saying the move of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) was proper considering that these CALTs were issued irregularly.
“We are glad that the NCIP nullified these titles and we hope that they will do the same with other areas in the city which are similarly situated (covered by spurious CALTs),” the mayor said.
The NCIP reportedly canceled CALTs 301, 302 and 303 covering tracts of land claimed by the heirs of Cosen Piraso particularly the the Casa Vallejo property along Upper Session Road, Josephine Abanag at Wright Park and Botanical Garden in Pacdal and Lauro Carantes at South Drive.
The same CALTs have been sought for annulment by the city government since 2009 as the lots covered are within forest and park reservations and therefore inalienable.
The city is also working with the NCIP and the Office of the Solicitor General for the cancellation of CALTs over Loakan Airport and the Dairy Farm at Green Valley.
The NCIP last August expressed readiness to cancel three of the five CALTs being questioned by the city after finding irregularities in them.
In its resolution voiding the three titles, the NCIP declared as missing the documents supporting the CALTs thus invalidating the same.
The NCIP move was assailed by ancestral land claimants who tagged the act as an orchestrated “effort to disenfranchise” them.
The mayor however said the annulment of the titles benefits the city because the titles were spurious right from the start and the lots need to be preserved as forest reservations for the benefit of the people.
He reaffirmed that the city will continue to respect ancestral land applications as long as these are legitimate Igorot claims qualified for disposition as ancestral land under existing laws.
He said what the city is opposing are bogus ancestral land claims that seek to undermine protected areas like the Forbes Park, Wright Park and other forested areas that put the interest of the city and its people in peril.
The mayor maintained that legitimate claims are those Igorot claims classified as alienable as ancestral land as per section 78 of Republic Act No. 8371 or the Indigenous People’s Rights Act.
The said section provides a special provision that the city of Baguio “shall remain to be governed by its Charter and all lands proclaimed as part of its townsite reservation shall remain as such until otherwise reclassified by appropriate legislation..” Section 78 also provides an exemption that “prior land rights and titles recognized and/or acquired through any judicial, administrative or other processes before the effectivity of this Act shall remain valid…” which means that Igorot claims recognized before November 1997, the date of IPRA implementation, are qualified as ancestral claims.
Among those recognized are Igorot ancestral claims screened under Special Administrative Order No. 31 and Dept. Administrative Order No. 02 issued by the Dept. and Environment and Natural Resources.
The mayor said all claims that fall under these circumstances are recognized by the city./A Refuerzo