BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan directed the city anti-squatting committee to issue the appropriate demolition orders to all the illegal structures that were built over the BIBAK property along Harrison road.
The city mayor said he was supposed to meet with the Commissioners of the Presidential Commission on Urban Poor (PCUP) to discuss the issues on squatting in the city Tuesday but they failed to appear in his office.
“We already gave sufficient time to the informal settlers to vacate the government property but it seems they are trying to justify their stay in the area,” Domogan stressed.
It can be recalled that the city government held in abeyance the issuance of the required demolition orders over the more than 50 illegal structures that were built within the 5-hectare BIBAK property along Harrison Road after the PCUP intervened on the matter and requested the local government to defer the demolition of the structures after the conduct of the appropriate investigation.
Earlier, the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) passed a resolution strongly supporting the move of the city government to demolish all the illegal structures within the BIBAK property so that it would be used for the purpose of serving as a temporary housing for students coming from the different parts of the region.
Domogan cited the sudden increase of illegal structures within the government property over the past several years which deprived students from the different parts of the region to avail of the purpose of the use of the property, thus, the need to already demolish the illegal structures in the area.
He ordered the members of the city anti-squatting committee to already convene and deliberate the matter before the issuance of the demolition orders which could be implemented anytime amidst the opposition of the PCUP.
The property is now under the jurisdiction of the Cordillera office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP-CAR) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-CAR).
Informal settlers reportedly appealed the decision of the city government to demolish their structures arguing the fact that they are covered by the provisions of the Urban Development and Housing Act and that they have to be granted relocation site prior to the demolition of their houses.
However, Domogan argued based on the investigation conducted by concerned authorities, the structures built in the government property are not suitable to the structures of urban poor residents, thus, the issuance of the demolition order is already overdue considering that many sectors are now inquiring on what actions were taken by the local government to clear the area from the illegal structures.
He appealed to all sectors of the city for sobriety and understanding on the snailpaced actions of the city government in relation to the status of the property considering that they are following the appropriate procedures to prevent the city from being subjected to technicalities by the affected structures so that the informal settlers in the area will be evicted the soonest.
By Dexter A. See