February 23, 2024

An illegal clearing and leveling of a forest patch near Ambuclao Road which has led to the destruction of numerous trees has prompted an investigation by the City Environment and Parks Management Office and local police on Dec. 19.

The unauthorized activity, which started on Dec. 16, 2021 using a mini excavator, has not only violated environment laws but also inflicted significant damage to the environment.

The cleared and leveled forest patch is under Proclamation Order 1221 – authorizing Saint Louis University to develop the area for community hospital.

Based on investigation, a certain Frederick Bernal has ordered the ground leveling of the area for the temporary parking of heavy equipment and stockyard of construction materials as part of his agreement with Asuncion, Marlon, and Reynaldo all surnamed Nimer, claimants of the area.

The Nimers claim they acquired the property through public auction.

On Dec. 20, Regional Trial Court Branch 5 Presiding Judge Maria Ligaya V. Itliong Rivera issued a temporary protection order (TEPO) where the Nimers were told to cease and desist from conducting any act that will violate the TEPO.

The court warned that failure to comply with the TEPO shall be considered direct contempt and shall be dealt with severely.

The court also directed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to immediately take the necessary action to continue with the enforcement of TEPO and the Baguio City Police Office to provide the necessary assistance.

The cleared area is currently embroiled in a dispute with different land claimants and that portion of the land is a proposed tree nursery site of the city government, which was donated by SLU. – Danny Killip