BAGUIO CITY – The inter-agency committee on the Benguet-Ifugao-Bontoc-Apayao-Kalinga (BIBAK) property along Harrison road denied the request of the informal settlers to defer the scheduled demolition of their illegal structures in the 5,000-square meter lot after June 30, 2017.
In a meeting Thursday, the committee chaired by Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan and composed of representatives from the Cordillera offices of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP-CAR), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-CAR) and concerned departments of the local government found no merit in the last ditch effort of the informal settlers to again request for the re-scheduling of the demolition of their illegal structures to a much later date considering that their proposed relocation site in La Trinidad has not yet been finalized and that their children will encounter difficulties in going to school during the rainy season.
The committee will formally reply to the resolution of the informal settlers through a letter to be signed by Mayor Domogan, NCIP-CAR regional director Roland P. Calde and DENR-CAR regional director Ralph Pablo to put to rest the long standing issue.
Instead, the committee requested the informal settlers to cooperate with the Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor (PCUP) to fastrack the preparation of the pertinent documents for the conversion of their proposed relocation site from agricultural to residential and the approval of the overall development plan of the property so that it could be subdivided pursuant to the desire of the informal settlers.
Domogan explained upon the request of PCUP officials, he already talked to La Trinidad mayor Romeo Salda and some municipal councillors which resulted to the approval of the conversion of their proposed relocation site from agricultural to residential and that Mayor Salda also committed to work on the approval of the property’s development plan once the concerned parties will submit their formal request to him.
The demolition of the illegal structures within the BIBAK property was scheduled early this year but the informal settlers submitted a notarized commitment for them to voluntarily demolish their structures on or before June 30 and for the withdrawal of all the cases that they filed against the city and that all remaining structures after the committed deadline will be demolished by the city demolition team.
Domogan pointed out the ground of the informal settlers in requesting for the deferment of the demolition of their structures that was anchored on the claim that the property will be given to a local businessman to be developed into a mall is baseless considering that he was not aware of the alleged endorsement made by former Rep. Nicasio M. Aliping, Jr. because he never saw a copy of such letter addressed to former DENR officials.
He underscored the plan for the property is for it to be fenced after the demolition of the illegal structures and for the members of the inter-agency committee to prepare the master plan that will include the construction of dormitories that will serve as the lodging area for deserving students from the different parts of the Cordillera.
By Dexter A. See