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Baguio mayor asked to help Camp Allen folk to own land


BAGUIO CITY—If Councilor Leandro Yangot Jr. had his way, he would award the most contested parcels of land at Camp Allen between Baguio residents and the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

But Yangot could only initiate the move as he requested Mayor Braulio Yaranon to also initiate expropriation proceedings over two parcels of lands within Camp Allen containing an area of more than 140,000 square meters in favor of qualified residents.

Yangot, in his proposed ordinance, informed Yaranon the two parcels of lands covered under TCT 1390 and Proclamation 254-1929 are subjects of land dispute between the PMA and Baguio residents.

Yangot said the parcels of land are also the subjects of sale to Metro Verde Development Corp.

But Yangot noted the supposed actual occupants through a letter on October 25, 1999, addressed to the PMA superintendent through the Office of the Public Estate Authority, which was signed by Geoffrey Botangen, spokesman for the group, said they have the priority rights over the parcels of land in accordance with Presidential Decree 2016.

Presidential Decree 2016 protects citizens, who have been residing in a disputed area for more than 10 years, from being summarily evicted on the subject land.

Also, the barangay council of Camp Allen passed Resolution 02-2004 urging Yaranon to file an action of eminent domain over the two parcels of land in their favor.

“The city government should take the lead in ensuring that the parcels of land be finally awarded to the actual occupants or shall be expropriated for public use in consonance with its development thrust to provide decent housing for its residents,” Yangot told Yaranon.

Recently, Camp Allen residents, including retired military officers, accused PMA of allegedly resorting to “martial law” tactics to demolish supposedly illegal structures within the military reservation.

It was reported earlier that around 250 families within Camp Allen were alleged squatters. But Camp Allen official Doromal said many of the houses subject for demolition were built even before Republic Act 7279, or the Lina Law was passed.

The Lina Law provides that owners of structures built 10 years before the law was passed in 1992 reserves the right to own the structures.

Earlier, PMA evicted from Camp Allen alleged overstaying heirs of retired military officials.

The PMA has stepped up the demolition of the “illegal” structures within military reservations such as Camp Allen, the Navy Base and Fort Del Pilar following rising complaints by junior military officers regarding that they and their families do not have decent quarters.

By Harley Palangchao


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