Baguio bent on Bibak lot clearing-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Friday, September 20, 2013
GAINING support from a Regional Development Council resolution, the Baguio City Government is more determined than ever to demolish some 52 structures in the site of the former Bibak dormitory along Harrison Road.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan recently said the City Government is now in the process of listing down the names of structure owners and notify them of their violations.
Domogan said the local government does not want to forcibly evict the owners and hopes they will, instead, start voluntarily dismantling the illegal structures.
He said the City Building and Architecture Office together with the Public Order and Safety Division are tasked to investigate and identify the owners to whom notices of demolition will be forwarded.
The RDC unanimously approved a resolution last September 12 supporting the City Government to work for the demolition of the illegal structures to pave way for the construction of a dormitory to serve the needs of students from Cordillera provinces.
The RDC resolution said developing the lot as a dormitory for students from around the CAR provinces studying in Baguio will help promote the city as an educational center as well as generate income from the government property.
As early as 1983, a demolition order was issued by the City Engineer’s Office for the demolition of at least two buildings built in the 1960s by the centralized Baguio, Ifugao, Bontoc, Apayao and Kalinga (Bibak) to give way for the construction of a new dormitory.
In 2006, a similar demolition order was made by former Mayor Braulio Yaranon but also did not materialize.
The lot in question is part of the Original Certificate of Title 1 where the Cordillera Regional Assembly building stands together with several structures which are rented out by land speculators to eateries, internet shops and other illegal structures catering to students from a nearby university and offices.
Domogan said once the notices are handed over the City Government will give owners a fair chance to explain themselves to the Anti-Squatting Committee which will deliberate, decide and recommend the issuance of a demolition order.
The mayor said illegal settlers in the area are not entitled for relocation unless there is available land in the city’s socialized housing project. But he explained the structures built in the lot in question were only built in the 1990s, which means they have not been occupying the lot for a very long time.
He said the City Government will strictly observe procedures of demolition as specified in the Urban Development and Housing Act so as not to create conflict with both land owners and illegal settlers.
He said several demolition orders issued by the city government have been stalled due to court orders derailing their implementation.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 21, 2013.