Baguio City

Baguio officials probe tree cutting in disputed forested area

Mia Magdalena Fokno

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Baguio officials probe tree cutting in disputed forested area

SEAT OF POWER. The seat of the city government of Baguio.

courtesy of Mau Victa / Baguio Chronicle

The case highlights the challenges of environmental protection in areas with conflicting land claims

BAGUIO, Philippines – The Baguio City government is investigating a clearing of a forested area, which is a potential tree nursery site, on Ambuclao Road by a family claiming ownership of the piece of land.

The clearing operation allegedly began on December 16, which has led to considerable tree loss and ecological damage in the area.

Initial investigation reveals that the clearing was initiated by Frederick Bernal to create a temporary parking lot for heavy machinery and storage for construction materials, in agreement with Asuncion Nimer, Marlon Nimer, and Reynaldo Nimer. The Nimers claim land ownership through a public auction.

The property is at the center of a complex ownership dispute, and the investigation so far highlights the challenges of environmental protection in areas with conflicting land ownership claims.

Baguio’s Saint Louis University (SLU) has Proclamation Order 1221, designating the property for its community hospital project.

On December 20, Judge Maria Ligaya Itliong-Rivera of the Baguio Regional Trial Court Branch V issued a Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) for an immediate halt to the clearing. 

The judge also warned of serious repercussions in case of non-compliance by the Nimer family.

During a preliminary conference on December 21 with the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO), Marlon Nimer and Frederick Bernal committed to vacating the premises. However, SLU representatives found continued backfilling activities when they inspected the site later that day.

The case has so far underscored the need for stringent enforcement of environmental laws.- Rappler.com

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