BAGUIO CITY – The City government and other concerned agencies will pursue the demolition of at least sixty illegal structures constructed by informal settlers over a 5,000-meter land area under the name of the Benguet-Ifugao-Bontoc-Apayao-Kalinga (BIBAK) along Harrison road anytime next month.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said the demolition of the illegal structures within the BIBAK property has been a long-standing problem for the local government and concerned government agencies, but now that the courts and other quasi-judicial bodies have spoken in favor of the demolition of the illegal structures, the occupant informal settlers must now voluntarily dismantle their structures before the scheduled demolition dates.
The illegal structures in the BIBAK property were up for demolition August 2015 but the informal settlers sought the intervention of the court which granted them respite. However, the Regional Trial court (RTC) decided that the informal settlers do not have a right to the property which has been the property of the State.
“We appeal to the informal settlers to start voluntarily demolishing their structures so that they can salvage important materials and personal belongings. We have gone through the tedious legal process and the courts have already spoken,” Domogan said.
He revealed that even top officials of the Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor (PCUP) conducted an investigation on the status of the occupants of the government property and it found the existing informal settlers not to be considered as urban poor.
According to him, the informal settlers are not also qualified for possible relocation because most of the existing structures are in violation of the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 7279 or the Urban Housing and Development Act (UDHA).
Domogan explained he is optimistic that owners of the illegal structures within the government property will comply with the call of the local government for the immediate demolition of their structures and not to wait for the scheduled demolition so as to avoid possible conflict during the demolition is enforced.
The 5,000-square meter lot under Original Certificate of title (OCT) No. 1 was ceded to the BIBAK and where several student dormitories were built to serve students from the different parts of the Cordillera studying who were then in the different universities and colleges in Baguio and La Trinidad.
Among the concerns related to the existence of the illegal structures in the area include health and sanitation, solid waste disposal, and peace and order.
Various sectors in the region, including the Regional Development Council and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in the Cordillera, previously expressed support to the demolition of the illegal structures built over the BIBAK property so that the area will be given back to the organization where it rightfully belongs./By Dexter A. See