Mayor Hopeful for PCUP Ok on BIBAK Lot Demolition
June 13, 2015
BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan on Wednesday expressed hopes that the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) will no longer question the City Government’s plan to demolish the more than 50 illegal structures at the Benguet-Ifugao-Bontoc-Apayao-Kalinga (BIBAK) lot along Harrison Road.
The mayor said two commissioners of the PCUP arrived here last week to investigate and see the real situation in the area.
“I am sure that they saw for themselves that the site is occupied not by members of the urban poor but by unscrupulous individuals profiting from a government property,” the mayor said.
He expressed hopes that the commissioners will render a favorable report for the City to push through with the demolition.
“I hope there will be no more legal obstacle for the City to pursue the demolition,” he said.
The City’s bid to clear the lot received a boost from former leaders of the BIBAK Student Dormitories Inc. who committed to support the City’s move.
Domogan said the association members sought him out recently asking how the group can help the City and promised to back the City’s plan to eject the squatters and clear the area.
The group reportedly served intention to reclaim the lot which was originally reserved for the housing needs of students from the BIBAK areas but which is now occupied by private individuals and being used for business purposes.
PCUP chair Hernani Panganiban earlier Domogan to defer the implementation of the planned demolition of the structures pointing out the need to observe proper procedures and to ensure that the rights of the owners will not be violated taking into consideration the settlers’ claim that they are members of the marginalized sector and have been occupying the BIBAK compound since 1982 and thus are qualified to stay in the area or be granted relocation privileges under Republic Act 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992.
The City however said the lot needs to be cleared as it was intended for BIBAK housing needs and that the present occupants are private individuals who entered the property without permission and are now utilizing the area for profit.
The demolition of the structures has been endorsed by the Regional Development Council and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Cordillera (DENR-CAR).
The RDC In a resolution passed in 2013 supported the city’s plan to immediately demolish the illegal constructions in the area stressing the need to establish dormitories for the BIBAK constituents.
Last year, DENR-CAR OIC regional director Paquito Moreno also supported the city’s demolition plan in the area as he turned down the petition of the OCT No. 1 settlers to own the lots they are occupying.
Moreno said the DENR being the administrator of the lots under OCT 1 has advocated of the “best use” of the property and a demolition to be executed by the city mayor’s office will help the department enforce its mandate.
The said lot measuring about 5,000 square meters was segregated from Original Certificate Title No. 01 in favor of the BIBAK Dormitories Inc. in 1961 and thus “was slated to cater to the housing needs of the students coming from the BIBAK areas.”/A Refuerzo