TUBA, Benguet – Some fifteen illegal structures being used as business stalls in sitio Pungayan here were demolished to pave the way for the removal of illegal structures in the area.
Mayor Florencio Bentres said of the fifteen illegal structures, eleven stallholders voluntarily demolished their structures while four structures were removed by personnel of the local government.
“We were able to issue more or less 80 business permits to those individuals doing their trade in the town’s most popular tourist destination. We want the local government to earn from the businesses tht suddenly thrived in the area,” Bentres stressed.
He disclosed the municipal government is simply awaiting the final ruling of the Court of Appeals (CA) on the pending petition fo0r the issuance of a writ of kalikasan over the Mount Sto. Tomas forest reservation so that we will know what to do to beautify the area and sustain its identity as the new tourist destination in the area.
Sitio Pungayan, popularly known as La Presa in the local television series “Forever More” was the venue of most of the scenes in the aforesaid network series that is about to come to an end.
Mayor Bentres said local residents were grateful to the television network for having their local television series taken in the area that is now a must-see destination among visiting local tourists.
According to him, the Temporary Environment Protection Order (TEPO) issued by the Supreme Court (SC) barred the municipal government from issuing tax declarations over properties in the place, prohibited Baguio City Rep. Nicsio M. Aliping, Jr. from pursuing the development of his property and required the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to strictly implement environmental laws, thus, business activities are not covered by the ordered.
Bentres claimed the municipal government will require the stallholders in the La Presa area to introduce improvements in their stalls by beautifying them in order to contribute in efforts to sustain the influx of more visitors to the place daily for the business activities to be sustained.
He disclosed the continuous facelift of the area will be part of the overall development plan of the municipal government so that there will be sustained activities beneficial in providing the local residents with lasting sources of livelihood for their families.
The local chief executive appealed to visitors of the place to appropriately dispose their garbage so as not to contribute in the unabated dumping of garbage that tend to destroy the cleanliness and greenery of the place.
Further, he cited people visiting the place must be willing to pay the P25 per individual environmental fee which will be used by the local government in the implementation of sustainable solid waste disposal programs and the beautification of the place to sustain its identity as a tourism destination in the coming months
Tuba is one of the neighboring municipalities of Baguio City which is one of the expansion areas of tourists because of the promotion of La Presa as a scenic and beautiful place to spend a well-deserved break from a busy schedule. By Dexter A. See