October 2, 2023

Something is bothersome about the manner the City of Baguio is carrying out its landbanking initiative, or its move to acquire lands for future needs of the city government and its re-sidents.
Recently, the city council raised various concerns about the city’s purchase of a lot in nearby Tuba, Benguet to be developed into a housing project for Baguio residents.
The project, where 6,400 hou-sing units are intended for construction, had its groundbreaking last month, with officials of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development and the city government gracing the occasion.
While the circumstances and process leading to the groundbreaking event seem to be fast, there are concerns that remain to be addressed that unfortunately will cause problems such as possible legal battle in the future when left unresolved.
At the city council session last week, members raised issues on the classification of the lot, which is currently an agricultural area, and a pending case involving ownership, which, left unaddressed, will definitely have adverse effects on the city’s initiatives.
We believe in the administration’s noble intention in buying lots for future city needs, such as housing and expansion of offices, among other purposes; but the process appears to be cut short.
It is unthinkable why the city government overlooked the basic fact that the Tuba property is an agricultural area. Surely, it can be converted into a residential lot to suit the city’s purpose in buying the area – for a housing project – but the process it takes for that to happen will be long and tedious.
The pending case filed by groups of individuals with adverse claims over the said property should not also be ignored as this will still affect the city’s plans for the area. It would be a disservice to pass on to the residents the burden of having to prove to the courts their ownership of the housing units only because the legal complications were not addressed by the city government from the beginning.
We commend the administration’s efforts in providing solutions to Baguio’s lingering problems; but we share the sentiments of some members of the city council that concerned departments must exercise due diligence in carrying out the city’s landbanking pursuits to avoid complications that might leave the city government wasting money and putting residents at a greater disadvantage.
In this case where the city is dealing with one of the complicated and problematic city concerns, it is best to not cut the processes short because haste makes waste.
It is still better to follow the lengthy but more sure path than employ a speedy process that will create more problems rather than solutions in the future.