BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan slammed land speculators and their cahoots working with concerned government agencies and the local government for allegedly circumventing the provisions of the free patent law which has resulted to the worsening congestions in the different parts of the city that complicates numerous city concerns on solid waste management, environmental protection among others.
Domogan said he never issued an administrative order banning the implementation of the free patent law but is vocal against certain acts of land speculators in circumventing the limit of the free patent law that allowed the snowballing of applicants for free patents and the increase of family members acquiring small portions of lands in the city.
The free patent law limits the ownership of an individual to only 200 square meters of land but the probe is that many applicants for townsite sales applications have subdivided their applications to 200 square meters each which is no longer in accordance to the spirit of the law,” Domogan stressed.
Worst, Domogan point out even easements of creeks and road-right-of-way in the different parts of the city have been applied for issuance of free patent which has greatly contributed to the significant increase in structures that contribute to the congestions of the city where problems on solid waste management, traffic, peace and order and environmental preservation and protection are compromised.
For example, an applicant who applied for the issuance of townsite sales application for a 350-square meter property in a certain barangay withdrew his TSA application and converted it to free patent and subsequently divided his applications into two, one for him having an area of 200 square meters and another for his brother having an area of 150 square meters, which is not actually pursuant to the free patent law.
“If we do not work together to prevent overcrowding in our city because of the increasing density of structures brought about by the surge in free patent applications, which would result to high density in most areas of the city once concerned government agencies will continue to unabatedly issue free patent titles to obviously circumvented applications,” Domogan said.
Baguio City was designed by American Architect Daniel Burnham to be good for only 25,000 inhabitants in the early 1900s but as of this time, the city’s daytime population could go as high as 700,000 because of the numerous students and people transacting business in the city during the day while its night time population is around 321,000 people based on the latest census by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Domogan explained he is not against the implementation of the free patent law because it would allow people belonging to the lower class to own lands in the city but he is opposing the mode of circumventing the true spirit of the law where it clearly provides that the maximum land area to be given to a certain applicant will only be 200 square meters and that those who are applying for lands more than 200 square meters shall use the TSA mode of applying for land awards in the city.
He called on officials of concerned agencies to reconsider their insistence on subdividing land applications which are more than 200 square meters so that the city will not suffer from urban decay which will contribute to serious problems in the future.