Joint land consultation held`

BAGUIO CITY (29 January 2021) – “Land ownership is an important part of the social, political and economic structures in our city. The local government desires to formalize and legalize land ownership  because our city’s growth and socio-economic development is hinged on a successful land administration and regulation.”

Thus, declared councilor Fred Bagbagen, chair of the city council’s committee on urban planning, lands and housing, during a Joint Public Consultation on the assessment, processing and disposition of alienable and disposable lands of the Summer Capital held recently at a local hotel.

 Present were councilor and committee member Betty Lourdes Tabanda, city planning and development officer Donna Rillera-Tabangin, city assessor Almaya Addawe, representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, City Environment and Natural Resources, other concerned offices and various stakeholders.

City administrator Bonifacio Dela Pena represented Mayor Benjamin Magalong at the whole-day affair activity aimed at identifying issues and concerns regarding public land applications in the city and formulating concrete actions for their solution.

Bagbagen warned that Baguio city is on the threshold of overshooting its environmental carrying capacity with natural resources already stretched to the limit in addition to being fraught with man-made and natural hazards.

“We have to take stock of how much land is already left, how these may be disposed equally and equitably to a growing population, and how we can fix the failures of urban planning in order that we may work towards a well-planned, safe, secure, and economically viable city,” he stressed.

Issues tackled  were:  Develop and agree on a formal minimum standard or guideline on land characteristics and suitability in the screening, evaluation and acceptance of public land applications; agree on a uniform information and scale of survey maps submitted and used in the titling process to aid in the assessment of applications; co-develop subdivision plans for the areas where group applications are observed and how incremental land re-adjustment may be implemented on existing residential communities.

Problems present in the non-compliance of applications regarding the construction of  improvements as well as the ownership of  lands being applied for;  the set-up of a monitoring and evaluation strategy to measure the degree of success of land administration standards enforced in the city, were also discussed.

 Among the suggestions given during the consultation were the creation of an environmental development plan, hastening the process of land applications without diminishing its quality and integrity, projected map of city’s future land needs, and more.

Bagbagen assured that all suggestions and proposals will be taken into consideration in the crafting of local laws and regulations to achieve a more efficient administration of city lands.-Gaby B. Keith