BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan expressed disappointment over the alleged inaction of some informal settlers in the 5,000-square meter Benguet-Ifugao-Bontoc-Apayao-Kalinga (BIBAK) property along Harrison Road to dismantle their structures despite the lapse of over two months since the scheduled demolition of the illegal structures erected on the government property.
The local chief executive said he remains optimistic that the informal settlers will comply with their previous commitment to voluntarily demolish their illegal structures because they have until June 30, 2017, to vacate the area.
“Maybe they are trying to maximize their stay in the area before they will start slowly remove their structures, or else, it will be the members of the city demolition team that will dismantle the structures once the prescribed grace period will expire,” Domogan stressed.
He pointed out the informal settlers were the ones who committed to voluntarily demolish their illegal structures that is why the city is closely monitoring the activities of these squatters to prevent further illegal structures from being built and for them to start removing their structures within the prescribed grace period to avoid complications once the deadline expires.
According to him, what is advantageous to the city now is the cooperation of the Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor (PCUP) is working out the identification of the potential relocation site for the informal settlers who will be displaced from the government property instead of trying to avert the demolition of the erected illegal structures in the said property.
Aside from committing to voluntarily dismantle their illegal structures, the informal settlers also committed under oath to move for the dismissal of all the cases that they filed against the city before different courts to come out with a peaceful solution to the long standing problem in the area.
According to him, once the informal settlers fail to dismantle their illegal structures on the prescribed deadline, the demolition team and other volunteers will demolish their structures starting July 1, 2017.
Some 58 residential and commercial structures erected by informal settlers within the BIBAK property have been censured to be demolished by the local government through the years but the informal settlers opted to try their luck in questioning the issued demolition orders before the local courts where they lost several times.
The embattled informal settlers tried their luck with the Court of Appeals (CA) but they were not again able to get a favourable decision, thus, the scheduled demolition of the illegal structures in the area once the y will not comply with their commitments which were executed under oath./By Dexter A. See