Sagada folks unite to protect land against giant developer but latter denies intention

  • Residents of the Sagada had launched a united petition to stop the entry of a private sector into their land to develop a tourism site
  • Mayor James Pooten confirmed that AyalaLand is planning to develop a 20-hectare private property in Batalao, Sagada
  • AyalaLand, however, denied the news going around

Following their plight on responsible and respectful traveling among tourists, Sagada folks are faced with yet another challenge.

Image by Sagada Municipality via Facebook

Residents of the famed town had launched a united petition to stop the entry of a private sector into their land to develop a tourism site;  affirming an unwritten rule that lands in their town must not be put on sale to outsiders.

It was reported that the unwritten rule states that only members of their families or their relatives can acquire their lands.

According to a report, Mayor James Pooten has confirmed that AyalaLand is planning to develop a 20-hectare private property in Batalao, Sagada but the giant property developer denied on December 23 that it is planning to acquire a property in Sagada.

“We would like to inform the public that Ayala Land Inc. has no plans for acquisition and development in the town of Sagada,” AyalaLand was quoted in a report. “Ayala Land has not entered into discussions with any party regarding properties in Sagada.”

The statement came after news about the plan to acquire a property in Sagada circulated on Twitter with most of the netizens airing opposition of the plan.

Image by Sagada Municipality via Facebook

The indigenous peoples of Sagada said in a statement that through the years they had been protecting their lands from possible deterioration caused by mass tourism and they had been successful.

“We have a long historical tradition of fighting for our communal and ancestral lands,” the indigenous peoples said. “Now once more, dark clouds hover our community, posing danger not only to local businesses but to Sagada’s overall social and cultural fabric.”

“If we surrender our lands, forests, mountains and watersheds to outsiders, we surrender our souls as a people. This is our patrimony and must remain so for generations,” they added.