BAGUIO City Mayor Mauricio Domogan urged the public for understanding on the resetting of demolition of the illegal structures over portions of the 5,000-square meter Benguet-Ifugao-Bontoc-Apayao-Kalinga (Bibak) property along Harrison Road.
The local chief executive admitted the repeated resetting of the scheduled dismantling of the illegal structures in the area has affected his credibility in the enforcement of the demolition orders.
However, he pointed out the decision to reset the scheduled demolition on August 15 to October 15 was a collective decision of the local government and officials of the Cordillera offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.
The resetting followed the persistent lobbying of the representatives of the Presidential Commission on Urban Poor (PCUP) who committed to the inter-agency committee that the informal settlers will definitely leave the property.
“We appeal to the public to understand our decision to reset the schedule of the demolition of the illegal Bibak structures because we have to consider various factors that affect the implementation of the issued demolition order. What is important is that we have agreed on the definite date of the demolition of the illegal structures and it was made clear to the informal settlers that they will voluntarily remove their structures on or before October 15,” Domogan stressed.
After the illegal structures will be dismantled, he pointed out the property must be fenced for representatives from the local government and concerned government agencies to work out the preparation of the master development plan for the property.
This will include the put up of the dormitories to cater to the lodging requirements of poor but deserving students from the different parts of the region who opt to study in the city.
Domogan added PCUP representatives assured members of the inter-agency committee the informal settlers will definitely leave the property once the requisites of their identified relocation site in La Trinidad town will be completed and the property will be ready to accommodate the structures of the informal settlers which will be built in the said area.
He claimed the PCUP representatives were even requesting for a longer period for the informal settlers to stay in the Bibak property while negotiations with the owner of their relocation site are being undertaken but it was the consensus of the committee to give them only two months considering that the demolition had been rescheduled several times over the past several years.
Under their agreement, illegal structures that remain in the Bibak property after the October 15 deadline will be dismantled by the members of the city demolition team while business activities of the informal settlers in the area should immediately stop. (PR)
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on August 31, 2017.
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