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BAGUIO CITY – Some one hundred ten structures within the declared 150-meter buffer zone of the Loakan Airport were already issued the demolition notices by the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) as part of the local government’s efforts to free the airport from obstructions that will pave the way for its opening for commercial operation.
Engr. Stephen Capuyan, Engineer IV and head of the CBAO investigation and demolition division, said that the issuance of demolition notices to the more or less 200 structures that were already identified to be within the buffer zone will continue until such time that all the owners of the structures shall be issued such notices in preparation for future proceedings.
He added that the owners of the structures within the declared buffer zone were advised through the issued demolition notices to voluntarily demolish their structures within 7 days upon receipt and for them to present whatever documents that will show their ownership of their properties.
Earlier, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) declared the 150-meter width from the center of the airport or 75 meters on both sides as the buffer zone of the Loakan Airport wherein probable obstructions in the area should be demolished to ensure the safety of aircrafts that will land in the airport once the same will be opened for commercial operation.
Capuyan disclosed that the issuance of demolition notices to the structures within the Loakan Airport buffer zone is every Tuesday until such time that all the structures will be issued the same and it will now be up to the owners to prove the legitimacy of their ownership of their properties in the area.
According to him, structures that do not have the legitimate documents will surely the first ones to be demolished while those individuals that are able to present titles of their properties will be subjected to the required hearings by the city anti-squatting and illegal structures committee to ascertain the legitimacy of their ownership of their properties.
The local government previously made representations with the Department of Transportation (DOTR) and the CAAP for the possible opening of the Loakan Airport for commercial flights after the same was closed for such flights over a decade ago to help in enticing high end visitors to consider spending their short breaks in the country’s undisputed Summer Capital.
Currently, the Loakan Airport remains open to chartered and military flights while its full commercial operation is being ironed out with the concerned government agencies considering issues on safety and other technical aviation issues.
The Loakan Airport is one of the airports in the country with the shortest runway having a total length of over 1.6 kilometers which is sufficient to cater to the taxi and take off requirements of small aircrafts wanting to service the route.
The previous administration was able to prevent the eventual closure of the Loakan Airport and its proposed conversion into an expansion area of the State-owned Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) considering that the city will be deprived of access to flights going in and out of the city and the chance to lure high end tourists to visit the city.
By Dexter A. See
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis