April 21, 2024

After 111 years, the City of Baguio was finally issued a title over the land where the City Hall stands.

On Sept. 24, the city government received a copy of the Original Certificate of Title 2020000098 from the Land Registration Authority (LRA) over the 15,863-square meter lot where the City Hall building stands, including the area occupied by the Justice Hall at the back portion of the property.

The title is a special patent from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources registered as SP-LGU-BEN-9032.

“We believe that there should be a document that will show the city government owns this piece of land. Now, City Hall is no longer a squatter in its own city,” said General Services Office chief Eugene Buyucan.

With an OCT, he said the city government can now register the property in its book of accounts as well as the appraisal value of the property, giving it all the rights as owner of the real property.

He said the titling process under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte started in 2017 going through a detailed procedure which included the submission of old photos and historical accounts before the OCT was finally issued.

Buyucan said in the past, the city government’s proof of ownership over the land known to all as “City Hall compound” is under a presidential decree.

Old photographs of the city show the location of the old town hall building.

Stories of American Architect Daniel Burnham, who designed Baguio, were  also used as proof of its location at a higher vantage point overlooking a body of water, a trademark of Burnham in all cities in the world that he designed.

Also awarded with OCTs were the 8,363-square meter land area used by the City Engineer’s Office and the 23,186-square meter Bayan Park in Aurora Hill.

Buyucan said they are processing the title over 11 more properties of the city government, which have yet to be covered by a certificate of title.

He said this includes the lots of the city jail, veterinary office, police, housing for the residents and employees of the city government, and area for its waste management. – PNA