THERE should be a master plan for the Benguet-Ifugao-Bontoc-Abra-Kalinga property to develop the property into a more productive and sustainable area, said Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan.
"After we demolish the structures in the Bibak, we should have a master development first and then the suggestions of the Bibak/Dormitories, Inc. will be considered also," he said following the expected demolition of more than 50 informal settlers in the 5,000 square meter Bibak property.
The Bibak Dormitories, Inc. has pronounced their intention to reclaim the area along Harrison Road to make it a small Cordilleran village featuring the culture and tradition of the region.
The company seeks to remove the structures built in the property and and develop the area for cultural presentations of artworks, handmade crafts, hand-woven products, and gatherings.
Domogan said the suggestion will be considered once the demolition is implemented.
"We are with you on the demolition but we have to wait for the obstacles to be solved first," he said.
The City Government is just waiting for the report of the Presidential Commission for Urban Poor after its investigation in the area.
The investigation aims to verify the claims and status of the affected settlers in the area who identified themselves as members of the urban poor which urged the PCUP through Chair Hernani Panganiban to intervene in the supposed demolition.
“I hope there will be no more legal obstacle for the City to pursue the demolition,” he said.
PCUP chair Panganiban earlier asked Domogan to defer the implementation of the planned demolition of the structures pointing out the need to observe proper procedures and to ensure the rights are not violated taking into consideration the settlers’ claim they are members of the marginalized sector and have been occupying the Bibak compound since 1982 and thus qualified to stay in the area or be granted relocation privileges under Republic Act 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992.
The city has maintained the lot needs to be cleared as it was intended for Bibak housing needs and present occupants are private individuals who entered the property without permission and are now utilizing the area for profit.
The demolition of the structures has been endorsed by the Regional Development Council and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Cordillera Administrative Region. (with Aileen Refuerzo)