Aldermen seek moratorium on subdivision and condominium construction in the city

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By Brix Domondon

The Council Reports

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


FACED with the stark possibility of a looming water crisis in the near future the city council has approved on first reading a proposed ordinance authored by City Councilors Leandro Yangot, Jr., Joel Alangsab, and Fred Bagbagen seeking to declare a moratorium in the construction of condominiums, condominium-hotels or condotels and subdivisions in the city of Baguio and providing penalties for its violation.

As explained in their proposed legislative measure there is no denying the fact that the city has already reached an alarming state of water depletion partly due to rapid improvements and developments particularly in the construction of buildings either for residential or commercial purposes that have resulted in high water demands as well as shortages.

The aldermen pointed out in their proposed ordinance the fact that the demand for water in many areas of the city has already exceeded the available supplies. They added that existing water supplies and water dependent resources are fast declining as it struggles to cope with the ever increasing population of the city.

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They also mentioned in their proposed legislative measure that based on a report from the Baguio Water District (BWD), of the 30 percent remaining area of the city covered by watersheds that have grown pine trees, production of pine stands, and brush lands which are considered as potential water sources, almost half have already been denuded, occupied and/or cultivated resulting in the present constraints in the attempt to fully satisfy the increasing water demand.

Thus they posit that in view of the above, it is the moral obligation of the city government to come up with appropriate measures in order to sustain provisions for adequate and affordable water supply for the inhabitants of the city. Likewise the attempt to protect available water resources is in consonance with the declared policy of the city government of Baguio that water needs to be managed efficiently to protect public health and safety and allow for its other beneficial use as clearly provided in Title VI Article I Section 47 of City Ordinance No. 13 series of 2007 otherwise known as the Water Code of the City of Baguio.

It is also in this light that the alderman is pushing for the enactment of the proposed ordinance with the explanation that while the city government is working seriously for the possible long time solutions to address the looming scarcity of water in the city, to include a previous proposal for the declaration of a moratorium in the construction of commercial buildings such as hotels, apartment-hotels or apartels, motels, inns and the like, there is equally a need to declare a moratorium in the construction of condominiums, condominium-hotels or condotels and subdivisions since their operation require a large supply of water.

The proposed legislative measure in Section 1 thereof seeks to make it a policy by the city for the declaration of a moratorium in the construction of condominiums, condominium-hotels or condotels and subdivision within the territorial jurisdiction of Baguio city. Section 2 of the said proposed ordinance also provides that any person, natural or juridical found in violation thereof shall be penalized by a standard fine of P 5,000.00 and/or imprisonment of not more than three months but not less than one month or both fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court.

Finally the said proposed ordinance also seeks to direct the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO), the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), the City Licensing Division, the City Planning and Development Office and the 128 barangays in the city of Baguio, to monitor the strict implementation of the same.

After its approval on first reading by the City Council the said proposed ordinance is scheduled to be referred to the appropriate committee for further study and recommendation before its publication and posting and final approval by the august body.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 12, 2014.

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