BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan underscored the local government has no authority to interfere and stop the scheduled demolition of some fifteen illegal structures erected on the road-right-of-way of Kennon road, particularly those built near the famous Lions Head, saying that the agency in charge of the situation is the Department of Public Works and Highways–Baguio City District Engineering Office (DPWH-BCDEO).
The local chief executive said the demolition order for the dismantling of the 15 illegal structures near the Lions Head was issued by the DPWH-BCDEO and it was also signed by City Building Official Nazita Bañez because of the absence of the required building permits issued by the city for the said structures.
Further, he noted that the local government never issued business permits to the occupants of the illegal structures used for business activities by the informal settlers because of their alleged encroachment to the road-right-of-way of Kennon road that exposed them to extreme danger, especially in case accidents occur.
“We had been talking to the informal settlers for the longest period of time to reconsider relocating to the developed area for them to do business but our appeal fell on deaf ears because they claimed that there is no business activity once they will transfer to their supposed relocation site even without attempting to transfer there,” Domogan stressed.
He explained the informal settlers should also consider the repercussions of their continuous stay in the area because if an accident happens, it will be the DPWH-BCDEO officials who will be held liable for any loss of lives and damage to properties that may be inflicted to those who are in the area, thus, the illegal structures must be demolished.
The mayor admonished the affected informal settlers not to resist the demolition because of false promises made by some city officials that assistance will be given them. He clarified that the local government does not have authority to defer the demolition order that was legally issued by the government agency that has jurisdiction over the matter or else the local government officials concerned will be charged with obstruction in the enforcement of a duly issued demolition order.
He explained that if the informal settlers acceded to the previous plan to develop the back portion of the Lions Head as their relocation site for their business activities, they would not be encountering the problem of their structures being demolished because concerned government agencies would have provided the needed assistance to them for the improvement of that vicinity of the Lions Head.
Domogan admitted the local government cannot offer any relocation site for the informal settlers who will be displaced in the Lions Head area because they already refused to occupy the structures earlier built for them by the DPWH and the city.
By Dexter A. See