(PNA file photo by Liza T. Agoot)

BAGUIO CITY – The Police Regional Office Cordillera (PROCor) on Thursday said it is now up to the court to decide on the fate of alleged illegal settlers within Camp Dangwa in Benguet's capital town of La Trinidad, following its filing of suits over the matter.

"May effort na tayo dyan. I-start na natin ang proper process in court. Matagalan yan 10 to 15 years na yung mga sumusunod na sa atin later on ang mag-implement kapag may court order na pero kailangan natin simulan (We already have an effort on that and have started the court process which while may take time, has to be commenced and let the future leaders implement the decision)," PROCor chief Brig. Gen. Mafelino Bazar told reporters.

Bazar said they cannot just evict the illegal settlers out of the property, noting that "they are humans, too".

At least 2.7 hectares of 79.90 hectares within the military reservation used by the PROCor as headquarters, including that of several other attached units of the Philippine National Police, are occupied by informal settlers.

Reports said informal settlers are not just civilians but also non-uniformed personnel and police officers in active service.

For several years under different regional directors, the PROCor has undertaken several actions to curb "squatting" and reclaim the land areas occupied by informal settlers.

However, these failed and led to tension between officers of the PROCor and alleged illegal settlers.

"This is the only way to put an end to the controversy, allowing the courts to take cognizance and let the future leaders of PROCor implement the order that will result from the action we have now," Bazar said. (PNA)