THE Baguio City Council on Monday passed a resolution directing that local government officials honor certificates of ancestral land title (CALTs) and the communal certificate of ancestral domain title (CADT) in all government transactions, such as building permit applications.
Baguio’s only CADT is currently located in Barangay Happy Hallow inside the Camp John Hay forest reservation.
According to Councilor Michael Lawana, many homes built by indigenous communities on ancestral land are covered by CALTs and CADTs, which are not recognized by the National Building Code that only allows original certificates of title (OCTs) and transfer certificates of title (TCTs) as proof of ownership, preventing the city’s indigenous communities from acquiring appropriate permits and paperwork.
However, Councilor Maximo Edwin, who sponsored the resolution, cites a December 15, 2022 Department of Justice legal opinion from Justice Secretary Jesus Remulla, which says that all ancestral land titles in Baguio City that have not been contested by the government are as valid as modern land titles.
The justice secretary said: “Since the CADT and CALT are considered as recognition of ownership, a building permit may be issued on structures built on parcels of land covered by the CADT or CALT that were not nullified through a judicial proceeding.”
However, Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, a lawyer, said the council must study the resolution’s effect on “derivative titles,” or subdivided CALT lots, which could potentially be sold to outsiders or people who are not members of the IP community.