BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan stressed city officials will not dip their fingers in the ongoing demolition of more than 350 illegal structures built within parts of the 94-hectare Baguio Dairy Farm because the matter is a purely legal issue.
The local chief executive explained the special writ of demolition was issued by the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) and not the local government that is why city officials have no right to unduly interfere in the dismantling of the illegal structures amidst the persistent lobbying of the affected informal settlers.
He admitted that the informal settlers have been frequenting his office requesting him to stop the ongoing demolition of their illegal structures erected over the government reservation but he politely informed them that the local government has no jurisdiction over the matter considering that it was an offshoot of a court ruling.
Further, he added he also received several letters from Palace officials requesting him to stop the demolition of the illegal structures but he again replied to the misinformed officials that the demolition order was issued by the MTCC after a tedious litigation of the case, thus, the local government has no jurisdiction over the matter considering the independence of the judiciary from the executive and legislative branches of government.
“We deployed sufficient policemen and employees of the City Public Order and Safety Division to help maintain law and order in the premises of the Dairy Farm while the demolition of the illegal structures is underway. We hope this will put an end to the issue so that the area can be utilized for its prescribed purpose,” Domogan stressed.
He extended his congratulatory message to the sheriff and the members of the demolition team for their effective and efficient handling of the situation despite the initial resistance shown by some of the affected informal settlers that prevented violence.
According to him, it will be up to the sheriff to explain to the issuing court the issue being raised against the on-going demolition whereby it is claimed that the small structures are the ones being initially demolished while big structures are being left untouched.
He claimed it is proper to give the benefit of the doubt to the sheriff and the members of the demolition team because they might be following a strategy.
It will be recalled that the agriculture department earmarked P2 million to bankroll the immediate implementation of the demolition order issued by a local court after it attained finality to prevent the continuous mushrooming of illegal structures within the property that affects the use of the property for its prescribed purpose.
The demolition of the Baguio Dairy Farm illegal structures is still underway until such time that the more than 354 illegal structures shall have been dismantled.
By Dexter A. See