PUGO, La Union – The municipal government expressed its opposition to the proposed enforcement of the environment department’s mapping survey results as the same will result to the significant reduction in the town’s land area and the alleged delisting of three of the fourteen barangays.
Mayor Priscilla M. Martin reported that the municipal government wants that the environment department should first work out the ‘win-win’ solution to the town’s boundary dispute with the nearby town of Tuba, Benguet before working out the implementation of the results of the recent mapping survey.
She claimed that based on the aforesaid survey results if it will be followed, Pugo will be losing 3 of its barangays, particularly Cares, Palina and Ambangonan which the local government will surely oppose as the same will no longer be feasible.
The municipal mayor disclosed that Pugo and Tuba have a dispute on some 4,800 hectares that have resulted to the freezing of over P2 million per municipality of supposed internal revenue allotment (IRA) from the national government.
According to her, the environment department should first work on the settlement of existing boundary disputes to ensure there will be no more conflicts on the land area of each of the local governments prior to enforcing mapping survey results that the agency has in its possession to avoid further conflicts.
Mayor Martin pointed out that the municipal government will exhaust all available remedies to protect its territory and will not allow that it will lose 3 of its barangays that is why the environment department should look into its strategies in dealing with the prevailing realities on the ground.
She added that environment officials reportedly informed them that the agency is rushing the implementation of the mapping survey results as the same will solve the existing problems on disputes but as per their analysis, it will eventually worsen the situation because most of the local governments will be experiencing significant reduction in their land areas that will be tantamount to the reduction on the IRA that these towns will be getting from the national government annually.
Martin revealed that municipal officials sought the assistance of La Union and Benguet provincial officials on how to deal with the problem that was created by the proposed adjustments in the surveys of local governments that is why environment officials should not rush the enforcement of this to avoid future conflicts that might affect the harmonious working relationship of local officials in adjacent municipalities and provinces.
She explained that being a fifth-class municipality, Pugo will surely be heavily impacted by the planned implementation of the adjusted survey results thus municipal officials are trying to convince environment officials that they must first work out the desired solution to the existing boundary dispute with Tuba by evaluating and assessing the situation of the affected local governments before pursuing the same to avoid future conflicts. By HENT