Sagada town thankful over Ayala Land’s 'no development interest'

BAGUIO CITY — The Sagada town government thanked Ayala Land for supporting the town’s push for sustainable preservation and protection of its rich indigenous traditions and ancestral lands by denying reports that the company is acquiring properties for real estate development in the idyllic mountain enclave.

This as Sagada town Mayor James Pooten chided certain individuals purporting to represent Ayala Land and an alleged plan to develop a 20-hectare property in the famous tourist destination.

“Sagada belongs to the world and to all who appreciate what is beautiful.  We are just stewards of God’s creation and everybody is welcome to enjoy the place, but care for it while you are here like it is your own. And when you leave, remember that you are leaving this beautiful place for your children and for generations to come,” Pooten said.

The municipal government earlier joined IP leaders and elders in expressing their disapproval against a planned acquisition of a 20-hectare property in Batalaw by the Ayala Land Inc., via supposed agents who visited the town several times allegedly with the purpose to develop a world-class tourism resort.

Ayala Land has officially denied such plans.

However, sources bared that some agents who claimed to represent Ayala Land allegedly approached the daughter of a deceased landowner signifying the company’s intention to purchase and develop the land, and that the agents were also seen at the town offices performing verifications of documents about the said property.

Mayor Pooten said the municipal government and the IP leaders were united in asserting an unwritten policy that lands in Sagada cannot be sold to outsiders, but only to the closest of kin of the landowners.

With the official statement from Ayala Land, Pooten heaved a sigh of relief that the issue can now be laid to rest. ●