Baguio City pursues Bibak demolition

THE Baguio City Building and Architecture Office (CBAO) is preparing for demolition of the illegal structures at the Benguet-Ifugao-Bontoc-Apayao-Kalinga (Bibak) lot along Harrison Road by June 30.

Engineer Nazita Bañez said the demolition will push through if occupants fail to dismantle their structures in the area by July 1.

Months ago, a the City Government halted the supposed demolition and occupants were given at least three months to dismantle structures after they promised to leave amicably.

The Regional Trial Court (RTC) refused to grant a temporary restraining order to stop the City Government from demolishing structures at the government-owned lot, where 58 illegal structures which the occupants claimed they have been occupying since 1982.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan said parcels of agricultural land in Long Long, La Trinidad town is being eyed as relocation site.

The dismantling operation has been reset several times after the parties took the case to the court and later when the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor intervened for the occupants.

The RTC Branch 5 declared on October 28, 2016, the demolition order issued by the City Government as valid and dismissed the two cases filed by the lot occupants aimed to stop the demolition.

The same court also denied for the second time the petitioners’ motions for the issuance of a temporary restraining order.

Last September 9, the court first denied the motion citing earlier rulings that the claimants have no right over the lot and thus over the structures they built on the area because they do not own the lot and their buildings were not authorized by the lot owner.

The city wanted to clear the area of the dwellers who the city said do not possess building permits, who are not members of the urban poor and are using their structures for business purposes without care for sanitation and order.

The demolition was also supported by the Regional Development Council-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-CAR which said the “petitioners’ occupation has no legal basis and neither can they qualify as beneficiaries under (Republic Act) No. 10023 (Act Authorizing the Issuance of Free Patents to Residential Lands) because the lot is not alienable and disposable.”
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