By QUIMBERLYN RANCHEZ
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — To restrain Puguis illegal settlers from destroying the communal forest, the Municipal Legal Officer, Bartolome Baldas, Jr. proposed the filing for the issuance of Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) and Permanent Environmental Protection Order (PEPO) against all occupants of the Puguis Communal Forest.
The Puguis communal forest is a common property of the indigenous peoples of La Trinidad which they use according to their needs. However, Pedro Isican, and other successors of Evaristo Tiotioen, claimed portions of the land, cut trees, and built structures in the area.
According to the proposal, the claimants built small shanties, tombs, pig-stys, and also dumped vegetable waste in the land area which caused destruction of the growing vegetation in the communal forest.
La Trinidad Mayor Romeo K. Salda earlier issued a Cease and Desist order over the issue on August 2017 but the claimants continued their illegal activities. It was followed by Mayor Salda’s issuance of Memorandum 068-2018, authorizing the confiscation of the claimants’ construction materials.
Meanwhile, Isican filed a “Prohibition injunction” before the Regional Trial Court of Benguet to challenge the memorandum. of The La Trinidad Municipal Government and the land claimants then agreed to maintain status quo within the forest to prevent further destruction in the area while waiting for the legal cases to be resolved and the ongoing joint survey to be done.
Moreover, the proposal stated that the illegal activities and destruction of the forest still continues that’s why the issuance of TEPO and/or PEPO is needed.
The issuance of TEPO and PEPO sees to restrain the informal settlers from continuing their illegal activities, orders them to vacate the area, and it also orders them to remove their built structures in the communal forest.
Furthermore, the proposal already passed the Municipal Council of La Trinidad during the council meeting, last July 3, and will be forwarded to the Mayor for further action.# nordis.net