BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan confirmed that officials of the Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor (PCUP) are extending utmost assistance to the embattled informal settlers in the Bontoc-Ifugao-Benguet-Apayao-Kalinga (BIBAK) property along Harrison road find a permanent relocation site even outside the city where they could transfer after the voluntary demolition of their illegal structures on or before June 30, 2017.
The local chief executive revealed that he received a phone call from a PCUP official last week informing him of the updates on the move of the PCUP and the informal settlers to locate the desired relocation site in La Trinidad town where they could transfer once they voluntarily remove their illegal structures erected on the 5,000-square meter property within the next two months.
“We are elated that things are going well in the identification of the possible relocation site for the BIBAK informal settlers with the support of the PCUP so that there will be no longer forcible demolition within the property when the self-imposed deadline will come,” Domogan stressed.
It will be recalled that the 58 informal settlers within the BIBAK property signed a notarized commitment to the local government that they will voluntarily demolish their illegal structures erected on the said property on or before June 30, 2017, to allow them to locate possible relocation sites where they could transfer.
Further, the informal settlers also committed that they will withdraw all the cases that they filed before the different courts as a sign of their sincerity to move out of the government property voluntarily within the committed period.
The local government was supposed to demolish the 58 illegal structures last January but that was averted by the timely submission of the commitment letter of the informal settlers paving the way for the smooth transition in the utilization of the property located at the heart of the city.
Domogan remains optimistic that the informal settlers will comply with their commitment, saying that the local government will pursue the demolition of the illegal structures starting July 1, 2017, if the informal settlers will not comply with their promise on time.
After the removal of the structures within the BIBAK property, he pointed out he will recommend for the immediate convening of a technical working group (TWG) to be composed of representatives of concerned government agencies, the local government and concerned stakeholders for the crafting of a master plan for the development of the area for students coming from the different parts of the Cordillera and as venue for educating today’s youth about the rich culture and traditions of the indigenous peoples of the region.
At present, he observed that there is still no movement by the informal settlers in removing their structures but he believes that they are just buying time before complying with their commitment. /By Dexter A. See#