City willing to help Benguet lobby for DA property

BAGUIO CITY May 24 – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan announced that the local government is willing to help the Benguet provincial government lobby for the segregation of a portion of the 92-hectare Baguio Dairy Farm from the agriculture department for its own use.

The local chief executive made the statement after learning that some provincial officials are allegedly intending to request Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol to instead give the 5-hectare portion of the Dairy Farm which he earlier promised to cede to Baguio City to Benguet so that it could be used for other development projects of Benguet in the future.

"We already completed the survey of the 5-hectare portion of the Baguio Dairy Farm that will be the subject of an agreement with the agriculture department and we tasked the City Legal Office to prepare the appropriate legal instrument that will formalize the transaction which will be signed by Secretary Pinol himself," Domogan stressed.

He revealed that for the past several administrations of the agriculture department, the request for the agency to cede to the local government at least 10 hectares of the Baguio Dairy Farm property was repeatedly denied for still unknown reasons but during the time of Secretary Pinol, the member of the Cabinet willingly gave his consent for the turnover of a 5-hectare portion of the property to the city which will be a big help in addressing the city's priority concerns on congestion, particularly the relocation area of the south-bound terminal among other facilities.

He added that Secretary Pinol gave the directive to fastrack the identification of the area covered by the 5 hectares and the immediate preparation of the appropriate legal instrument which could be used to justify the transaction, either by a deed of usufruct for 25 years whi8le the segregation of the area is being worked out among other available remedies.

Domogan claimed that if Benguet is interested to take the area that will be given to the city, it is best for the city and provincial officials to closely work together in lobbying for the segregation of a separate area which will also be given to the provincial government with the consent of Secretary Pinol.

The Baguio Dairy Farm is a property of the agriculture department which is supposed to be used to enhance dairy production not only in the city but also in the region but it was allegedly invaded by informal settlers and ancestral land claimants that resulted to the mushrooming of squatters in various portions of the government reservation.

Domogan asserted that Secretary Pinol is sympathetic to the issues and concerns of local governments that is why it will not be difficult for the Benguet provincial government to request for the segregation of a separate area for the province and not to take what was already committed as the one that will be ceded to the city once the documents will be perfected.

He underscored that the local government needs large tracks of land so that it will be able to implement its priority development projects that will help in decongesting the central business district and entice investors to infuse the needed capital for the put up of their businesses in the outlying areas of the city to contribute in generating jobs for the people and improving their sources of livelihood beneficial in sustain the city's overall growth and development.

By Dexter A. See

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