BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan asked Baguio residents for understanding on the re-scheduling of the demolition of some 58 illegal structures erected at the 5,000-square meter Benguet-Ifugao-Bontoc-Apayao-Kalinga (BIBAK) property along Harrison Road because the informal settlers need more time to complete their documents for the processing of the release of the funds as downpayment for the purchase of their identified relocation site in La Trinidad.
The local chief executive claimed the decision to give the informal settlers another deadline for them to voluntarily demolish their illegal structures on August 13, 2017 was collectively arrived at by the inter-agency committee composed of the regional directors of the Cordillera offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-CAR), the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP-CAR), concerned department heads and the Presidential Commission on Urban Poor (PCUP) upon the representation of PCUP officials.
“We extensively discussed the matter with the members of the inter-agency committee and we agreed to give them the final deadline upon the representation of PCUP officials who are assisting the informal settlers in the processing of the pertinent documents with concerned government agencies for the release of the funds that will serve as their downpayment on their identified relocation site in La Trinidad. We have to understand their situation because they already signified their intention to vacate the government property voluntarily,” Domogan stressed.
He expressed his gratitude to two of the informal settlers who dismantled their structures and left the area even before the earlier deadline last June 30, thus, the other informal settlers will follow within the period given to them to voluntarily demolish their illegal structures.
Domogan asserted after the lapse of the final deadline given to the informal settlers to remove their illegal structures in the area, the city demolition team will be the one to dismantle the remaining structures on August 15-16 before the whole property will be fenced off.
Further, he added even PCUP officials have committed to the members of the inter-agency committee that the informal settlers are willing to vacate the property and remove their structures but what is preventing them to do so the soonest is the alleged absence of their relocation site which is still being processed pursuant to existing laws, rules and regulations.
According to him, the members of the inter-agency committee will meet after the illegal structures are demolished to deliberate the preparation of a comprehensive master plan for the property and work out the possible funding of the development of the place wherein one of the major components will be the put up of dormitories for students from the different parts of the Cordillera studying in the different schools in Baguio and Benguet.
Earlier, the embattled informal settlers signed a notarized commitment for them to voluntarily demolish their illegal structures in the BIBAK lot on or before June 30 and that their failure to do so will compel the city demolition team to dismantle the illegal structures that were erected in the area.
By Dexter A. See