LA TRINIDAD, Benguet –The municipal government was able to identify some hitches on why property owners are hesitant to have portions of their structures that encroached on the road-right-of-way of roads and sidewalks be removed pursuant to the marching orders of President Rodrigo Duterte for local officials to take the lead in taking back public roads and sidewalks.
Mayor Romeo K. Salda said that one of the complaints of property owners was that the public works department did not yet provide them the just compensation that was promised them when the agency implemented its road widening project in the previous years that is why they do not want that a portion of their existing properties will be again affected by the ongoing clearing operations.
On the other hand, Salda disclosed that some property owners are requesting that they be given tax credit in the payment of their real property taxes once they will be the ones to restore the sidewalks that was encroached by their property.
“We are grateful in our municipality that most of our property owners are cooperating with our ongoing clearing operations although there are some who have certain issues to raise which we are willing to refer to concerned government agencies for them to be clarified on the matter,” Mayor Salda stressed.
He urged property owners who will be affected by the future clearing operations that will be done in the different parts of the municipality to cooperate with the said campaign considering that the same is a presidential directive and that whatever issues that they want to raise should be clarified by the concerned agencies that have been involved in their previous transactions.
Under the previous directive of the Chief Executive to the different local officials, local governments are given up to the end of the month to recover public roads and sidewalks that have been taken over by private individuals so that the same will be used for the needs of the public.
Salda explained that relative to the request of property owners for tax credit, the matter will be referred to the municipal treasury office being the collecting arm of the provincial government on real property taxes so that the issue will be immediately given the appropriate action by the concerned office.
According to him, the municipal government will also bring to the attention to the district and regional offices of the public works department the issue on alleged unpaid compensation to the property owners that allowed some portions of their properties along main roads to be taken that paved the way for the implementation of previous road widening projects.
While the local government understands the predicament of some property owners, the local chief executive asserted the need to pursue the presidential directive on the clearing of public roads and sidewalks to ensure a wider space for the public to be able to maneuver and prevent them from being exposed to extreme danger when there are no sidewalks on national and local roads. After the lapse of the 60-day ultimatum given by the President for all local governments to comply with the said order, the interior and local government will be conducting an assessment on the compliance of local governments to the recovery of public roads and sidewalks. By HENT