BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan lashed out at proponents of the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay Development Authority (BLISTTDA) for using the former Carabao Mountain or Quirino Hill area to depict the effects of urbanization to the state of the environment of Baguio City, saying that such gesture is unfair and embarrassing to the people of the barangays within the said area who were beneficiaries of the declared relocation site.
The local chief executive underscored that the former Carabao Mountain was been declared as a relocation site way back in the 1960s by former city officials that eventually served its purpose and a good number of residents are simply awaiting the issuance of the titles to the properties that they occupy through the miscellaneous sales application (MSA) mode.
“It is too easy for some people to make pronouncements to move people out of Baguio City because of the city’s supposed congestion but it is actually difficult to do so because of the numerous implications attached to it. It is also unfair to the residents of Quirino Hill to be used as an example by the proponents of the BLISTTDA to depict the city’s congestion because the said area is not the only overcrowded place in the city,” Domogan stressed.
He underscored that structures erected in Quirino Hill suffered the least damages or even none at all during the July 16, 1990 killer earthquake while those constructed with the assistance and supervision of experts, such as former big ones in the city, were the ones that crumbled during the tragic tremor that resulted to heavy losses to lives and properties then.
According to him, the situation only shows that the structures in the Quirino Hill area have been sturdily built and there is no clear basis to use the situation of place to showcase the city’s supposed congestion.
On the other hand, Domogan explained that forcibly moving people out of Baguio as advised by some BLISTDA proponents and advocates is another complicated matter that must be reviewed because residents legally occupying spaces cannot just be driven away from their titled properties as these have serious legal repercussions.
He argued there are no laws that prohibit people from travelling, spending a vacation and legally building a structure in the city because the proposal to prohibit people from flocking to the city undermines the right of the people to travel, among other rights attached to it, thus, what is important is for concerned agencies and the local government to agree on how to approach the problems of rapid urbanization without displacing people who have already established existing rights to their structures, among others.
He said local officials are in favour of the creation of the BLLISTTDA but not to the extent of making it as a superbody that could trample upon the local autonomy of involved local government units./Dexter A. See