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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The municipal government is inclined to file the appropriate charges for violation of environmental and other related laws against the developer of a housing project at Peripin Bato – Cogcoga, Km. 4, Pico following the series of erosion incidents that nearly blocked portions of the Halsema Highway and impeded the smooth flow of traffic for a number of days.
Mayor Romeo K. Salda stated that what is ironic about the situation is that the ongoing development in the aforesaid area was not issued the appropriate development permit by the local government aside from the fact that the project had been issued a cease-and-desist order in the past years.
Earlier, undetermined volume of soil and rocks were washed down by the weeklong heavy rains from the project site to the Halsema Highway, particularly along Km. 3 and Km. 4, that resulted to the clogging of the drainage systems in the area and caused the temporary closure of the roadline which became unpassable due to the presence of the said debris.
Personnel of the municipal government and the Cordillera offices of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-CAR) and Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB-CAR) recently conducted an ocular inspection in the area to ascertain the cause of the erosion and identify who is responsible for the filing of the appropriate for such unpermitted earthmoving activities.
Mayor Salda disclosed that the housing project has been traced to the local hospital but the developer is yet to be ascertained and is part of the ongoing investigation being undertaken to support the filing of the appropriate charges against the said entities for having grossly violated environmental and other related laws, rules and regulations.
According to him, the frequent closure of portions of the Halsema Highway below the project site for a number of days because of the soil and rocks that were washed down by the heavy downpour caused by the ongoing monsoon rains inconvenienced the public and that those responsible for such unnecessary problems should be held liable for their illegal activities.
On the other hand, the local government issued a demolition order against the local hospital for the removal of the fence it constructed on the road leading to Cogcoga as this was erected without the required fencing and building permits from the municipality.
The property owner was given a number of days to voluntarily demolish this illegal fence before the municipal demolition team will be enforcing the issued demolition order.
Residents of Cogcoga criticized the local hospital for putting up the controversial fence that deprived them of access to the road leading to their respective houses, saying that the area occupied by the illegal fence is part of the road-right-of-way in the area. By HENT