LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The municipal government will allow the sue of a portion of the Puguis Communal Forest as a training site of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to help in deterring the proliferation of informal settlers in one of the protected areas in the municipality.
The decision to allow the use of a portion of the Puguis Communal Forest as a PNP training site came after the local government, in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) successfully demolished the 4 illegal structures that were erected by informal settlers during the implementation of the community quarantine.
Mayor Romeo K. Salda said that allowing the PNP to use the Puguis Communal Forest as their training site will ensure that the watershed will be guarded from the attempts of enterprising individuals to erect illegal structures within the protected area.
Earlier, the local government demolished a number of illegal structures that were previously erected by informal settlers because of the verdant desire of the present administration to preserve and protect the watershed, one of the sources of potable water of the municipality.
However, some informal settlers took advantage of the implementation of the community quarantine to again erect their illegal structures which were again demolished last Tuesday.
Salda pointed out that the series of demolition activities in squatted portions of the Puguis Communal Forest should send a clear message to informal settlers that the local government means business in sustaining long standing efforts to preserve and protect one of the town’s primary source of potable water for the benefit of the present and future generations.
According to him, the presence of the PNP personnel undergoing their required trainings within the watershed will contribute in the efforts of the municipal government to stop the put up of illegal structures in some areas within the reservation that might compromise its status as a communal forest.
He disclosed that there was resistance from the informal settlers during the implementation of the demolition of the illegal structures that they erected but members of the demolition team and law enforcers made sure that the demolition was enforced peacefully to prevent the same from being taken advantage by the critics.
The local chief executive lauded the efforts of concerned government agencies, the members of the municipal demolition team, personnel of the La Trinidad Municipal Police Station and volunteers in effectively and efficiently handling the situation and preventing the occurrence of untoward incidents that could have caused some problems to the local government.
He asserted that the municipal government will remain consistent in the implementation of demolition of the illegal structures that will be erected by informal settlers who want to intrude into the reservation despite knowing that their actions are against the existing policies of concerned government agencies and the municipality.
Salda urged individuals that are interested to purchase properties in the municipality, especially if the lots being offered are situated in reservations, to first verify the status of the land they intend to buy with the concerned government agencies and the local government so that they will not be fooled into buying lands that are within watersheds that will result to their losing their hard earned money to land speculators.
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis
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