July 17, 2024

Fifteen years after the devastating effect of Typhoon Pepeng in 2009, the municipal council of La Trinidad, Benguet is working on the processing of the relocation sites for the beneficiaries in Barangay Tawang.

In a resolution, the municipal council has authorized Mayor Romeo Salda to apply for a special patent with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the two identified parcels of land in Tawang as the relocation site for the survivors of the Pepeng tragedy.

Councilor Bartolome Baldas, proponent of the resolution, said this was based on the April 19 meeting held by the Local Inter-Agency Committee (LIAC) for Presidential Proclamation 2098, s. 2010, which declares portions of Proclamation 39, s. 1920 as relocation site for the survivors in Tawang.  

Baldas said during the meeting, the LIAC unanimously agreed for the municipality to process the registration or titling of the two parcels of land for the relocation sites.  

The parcels of land involve an area of 16,130 square meters and another with an area of 17,433 square meters. 

He said the parcels of land were approved as early as 2010.

“I really do not know why the previous mayors have not applied for a patent for these parcels of land, when these were already identified as alienable and disposable lands in 2010,” Baldas said during the council’s regular session on April 30.

“Now, the ball is in our hands so to speak for us to give an authority to the mayor to file the necessary application for this LGU to finally perfect its rights for these two parcels of land,” he said.

On Oct. 8, 2009, the super Typhoon Pepeng caused a massive landslide at Little Kibungan in Puguis killing 77 people.

Then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Proclamation 2098 in 2010 proclaiming portions of the Benguet State University reservation as the relocation site for the Pe-peng survivors in La Trinidad.

However, in 2011 the development of the Pepeng relocation site was halted due to the presence of several claimants over the area.

Around seven families were claiming rights over the relocation sites which were phase 1 (1.6 hectares) and phase 2 (1.7 hectares) within Barangay Tawang.

It was only now that the agencies and the LGU revisited the processing of the relocation sites for the Pepeng survivors, who mostly have either continued living in Little Kibungan or have lived with their relatives in other areas.

Puguis Punong Barangay Osburn Visaya confirmed there are 92 families considered as recipients for the relocation site, as of the barangay’s data in 2015. – Ofelia C. Empian