Issue of December 1, 2019
Mt. Province
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Public warned on land sale covered by CALTs
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

The city government has warned the public from buying lots in Baguio that are covered by supposed certificate of ancestral land titles.

City Legal Office Attorney IV Isagani Liporada said Tuesday the city will not issue building permits to those holding CALTs or derivative titles pursuant to Presidential Decree 1096, emphasizing that “buyers in good faith” will not be applied.

Section 302 of PD 1096 requires, among others, a torrens certificate of title, without it, an individual cannot acquire a building permit or a locational clearance, and therefore it is illegal to build structures all over a property covered by a CALT.

“We are asking the public to be very careful in buying properties in the city of Baguio. We are trying to protect your interest as private individuals, which is why please, do not buy properties covered by a CALT if you are not an IP (indigenous peoples) coming from the same ethno-linguistic group,” Liporada said.

He said the city government has encountered a lot of permit applicants whose basis of their right to the property appeared to be CALTs.

“A CALT is not a torrens title; we do not register it under the torrens system of registration,” he said.

He stressed that it is the position of the city not to apply “buyers in good faith” because the concept only applies to torrens certificates of title and not to lots covered by a CALT.

He said a CALT cannot even be subdivided because under the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act, it is clear that the indigenous concept of ownership does not only involve the land; it involves the spirit or the essence of being an IP.

He said it is the city’s stand that one cannot sell an ancestral domain because that is an IP’s basis of their cultural integrity.

“How can you subdivide them? We cannot. If you are a claimant and you intend to sell your property, isn’t it that you are also selling your cultural identity? Our view here is to protect the interests of IPs, even against themselves,” Liporada said.

He advised lot buyers to first inspect the areas with the assistance of their lawyers when they intend to buy properties in the city.

He added that this stand is in consonance with the city’s 15-point agenda particularly revitalization of the environment and resolution of IP land issues in the city.

He said Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong was firm in adopting this line of protecting ancestral lands in front of an offer from an IP to look into the possibility of buying their land, which is covered by a CALT, for purposes of the south bound-terminal that the city plans to build, among other structures, to address traffic congestion.

“These (lands covered by CALTs) are intended for the preservation of such for our future generations. These lands serve as material basis of their indigenous cultural community’s integrity being a property belonging to generations of ICCs and IPs,” Liporada quoted the mayor in his letter response to the proposal.

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