THE inter-agency committee on the Benguet-Ifugao-Bontoc-Apayao-Kalinga (Bibak) property along Harrison road denied the request of the informal settlers to defer the scheduled demolition of their illegal structures in the 5,000-square meter lot after June 30.
Earlier, the informal settlers requested for re-scheduling of the demolition to a much later date after their proposed relocation site in La Trinidad was not yet finalized and that their children will encounter difficulties in going to school during the rainy season.
But the City Government together with National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)-Cordillera and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Cordillera found no merit to grant their request.
Instead, the committee requested the informal settlers to cooperate with the Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor (PCUP) to fast track the preparation of the pertinent documents for the conversion of their proposed relocation site from agricultural to residential and the approval of the overall development plan of the property so that it could be subdivided pursuant to the desire of the informal settlers.
Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said upon the request of PCUP officials, he already talked to La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda and some municipal councilors, which resulted to the approval of the conversion of their proposed relocation site from agricultural to residential and Salda also committed to work on the approval of the property’s development plan once the concerned parties will submit their formal request to him.
The demolition of the illegal structures within the Bibak property was scheduled early this year but the informal settlers submitted a notarized commitment for them to voluntarily demolish their structures on or before June 30 and for the withdrawal of all the cases they filed against the city and all remaining structures after the deadline will be demolished by the city demolition team.
Domogan said the informal settlers’ claim that the property will be given to a local businessman to be developed into a mall is baseless considering he was not aware of the alleged endorsement made by former Representative Nicasio Aliping Jr. because he never saw a copy of such letter addressed to former DENR officials.
The mayor said the property will be fenced after the demolition of the illegal structures and for the members of the inter-agency committee to prepare the master plan to include the construction of dormitories to serve as the lodging area for deserving students from the different parts of the Cordillera. (PR)
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on June 20, 2017.
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