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Demolition up in Baguio Dairy Farm

/ 12:50 AM January 13, 2017
dairy farm

A Department of Agriculture employee inspects an area occupied by illegal settlers in Baguio Dairy Farm. —EV ESPIRITU

SUAL, PANGASINAN—The Baguio City government is demolishing over 300 houses built without permits on the 94-hectare Baguio Dairy Farm, but Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said informal settlers may still be housed in bunkers if they are eligible to work for a proposed modern dairy facility there.

The demolition of 344 illegal structures is scheduled this month.

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The settlers began building concrete homes and setting up unlicensed businesses at the farm in 2013, asserting their claims after the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples granted an Ibaloy family a certificate of ancestral land title (CALT) over the area.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) had asked the courts to cancel the CALT.

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Piñol, however, said informal settlers could be tapped as workers once the DA introduces modern milk processing technology to the farm.

“We have a plan to develop that area into a real dairy center … [The DA is] looking at the Cordillera right now as the dairy center of the Philippines, [so] we will have to include [the illegal settlers] in the planning,” said Piñol in a recent visit here.

“We are not [granting them ownership of the Dairy Farm] because it is a government property. It is not mine to give … We can build them bunkhouses where they can stay,” he said.

A Cordillera police intelligence report indicates that some of the settlers were not Ibaloy families, suggesting that portions of the land covered by the CALT have been sold to businessmen or migrants.

The demolition is being undertaken based on a municipal court decision, said Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan. In a statement, he said, “We will not tolerate such act by enterprising individuals because we want to protect our reservations.” —GABRIEL CARDINOZA WITH A REPORT FROM VINCENT CABREZA

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TAGS: Agriculture, Baguio, Baguio Dairy Farm, demolition, Emmanuel Piñol, Farm, permits
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