Issue of August 11, 2019
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DENR to remind SolGen to file case on Busol title
by Rimaliza A. Opiña

Five years and nothing has been done.

In its continuing effort to protect the remaining forest and watersheds in Baguio, officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Cordillera have committed to remind anew the Office of the Solicitor General to file a case for the cancellation of 22 derivative titles issued over the Busol Watershed.

During the July 29 multi-stakeholder consultation called by the DENR, lawyer Renato Bestre, Legal Division chief, said that despite numerous follow-up calls with the OSG, no case has been filed for the reversion of said titles.

In 2014, the DENR-CAR recommended to the OSG to file a case of reversion of the titles. Subsequently, the city council of Baguio passed a resolution supporting the nullification of the titles and filing of criminal and administrative cases against the Registry of Deeds for issuing titles over a government reservation.

The City Legal Office also submitted to the OSG documents that could be used as evidence in the nullification of Original Certificate of Titles 018-0-162 and its derivative titles.

The derivative titles, which were issued in 2013, cover around eight hectares of the watershed.

The CLO then said that transfer certificates of title (TCT) are covered by a 211 title, which have already been declared void by the Supreme Court.

DENR Regional Executive Director Ralph Pablo said that DENR-CAR would follow up with the OSG to ensure that said titles are cancelled.

“Those titles are voidable. Because Busol is a watershed, it is not intended for urban development – as a subdivision. It should be developed as an eco park,” Pablo said.

Bestre said the DENR is hoping that with Mayor Benjamin Magalong having a direct line of communication with Cabinet officials, the OSG would soon act on the request of the agency, the LGU, and the Baguio Regreening Movement.

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