THE Department of Agriculture- Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-CAR) appeared before the Baguio City Council during its regular session to report an intrusion of armed groups into the Baguio Stock Farm.
Atty. Jennilyn Dawayan, DA-CAR regional technical director for Research and Regulations Office, and Robert Domoguen, head of DA-CAR Baguio Animal Breeding and Research Center (DA-CAR BABRC), narrated how two different groups had set foot in the stock farm, a reservation for animal breeding purposes, which is covered by Proclamation No. 603, Series of 1940.
According to the report of DA-CAR BABRC, in May 2021, a group attempted to survey a ten-hectare lot within the stock farm, claiming it as private property. This was followed by a series of trespassing incidents from June 14 until July 15 which have been reported to the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) Station 10.
Dawayan said the group had a copy of an Original Certificate of Title (OCT) issued by the Land Registration Authority, which she ascertained overlaps Proclamation No. 603.
Domoguen claimed armed security guards hired by the land title owner from a security agency based outside the region were in the area multiple times despite being told to withdraw, 27 of them at one time, outnumbering the government’s 25 security guards safeguarding the 94-hectare stock farm.
BCPO City Director Glenn Lonogan, who joined the DA-CAR representatives during the forum with the city council, said the intruders’ firearms have been confiscated on the ground that the security agency had no license to operate outside of its base. He said the Regional Civil Service Security Unit (RCSU), upon verifying the violation, will impose necessary administrative sanctions against the security agency.
Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan has requested Lonogan to designate police officers to constantly patrol the area to ensure maximum security.
In a statement issued on June 30 through the City Public Information Office, Mayor Benjamin Magalong has likewise tasked the BCPO to ensure that the stock farm is free from unwanted intrusions.
Dawayan said that the DA-CAR has asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to verify which areas are within and outside of the land covered by Proclamation No. 603. As per the initial results of the research, there are OCTs and Certificates of Ancestral Land Title (CALTs) that overlap the proclamation, she said.
As for possible filing of charges against the involved personalities, the DA-CAR official said the necessary documents are now being prepared to be forwarded to the central office for appropriate legal action.
According to the incident report, the stock farm was yet again intruded on on June 27 by a different group who insisted on surveying a portion of land which overlaps the ten-hectare lot claimed by the first group. Domoguen said they appeared to be armed just like the first group.
To study how the city government can extend its assistance, Councilor Benny Bomogao requested the DA-CAR and BCPO to furnish the council and the City Legal Office with copies of all the documents relative to the trespassing incidents.
Domoguen bemoaned the deplorable acts of the two groups, describing their demeanor as hostile and intimidating.
“They are bringing a different approach, character, and culture into the way we usually do things here in the highlands. Here in Cordillera, we do things in a consultative manner. We resolve problems together,” Domoguen stated.
“The stock farm is for everyone. That is why we do our best to produce livestock and crops. We want the trees to continue growing. We could all be ecologists or environmentalists just like our ancestors,” he said. –