Councilor reminds village execs to monitor informal settlers

BAGUIO City Councilor Elaine Sebrano is reminding newly elected barangay officials to be on the lookout for informal settlers.

In a resolution, the lady lawmaker reminded village chiefs to keep in mind provisions of the environment code of the city.

"Continuous construction of illegal structures of squatters in the different barangays of the City may continue to proliferate to the great prejudice, damage, and disadvantage of the landowners and legitimate barangay inhabitants," Sembrano said.

The lady legislator explained village chiefs and the members of the barangay council are primarily responsible in the maintenance of peace and order.

“And in protecting the interest of the public and private sector, they must lead a serious drive in the elimination of the construction of illegal structures,” she said.

Sembrano described illegal settlers “to be dishonest persons who for profit or gain and taking advantage of the absence of the landowner, willfully and deliberately, construct illegal structures in any vacant lot/s within the barangay to lease or sell to innocent persons either for dwelling or for business purposes.”

"Any barangay official who tolerates or fails to report squatting and/or illegal construction activities within safeguarded lands in their jurisdiction shall be liable under this Code," she said.

In 2013 an administrative order reorganized the City Anti-squatting and Anti-illegal Structures Committee to be headed by the city administrator with the following offices as members: City Legal Office, City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO), Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), Presidential Commission on Urban Poor (PCUP) and the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD).

Complaints for alleged illegal constructions will be filed with the CBAO.

It will collaborate with the POSD for the conduct of an investigation based on their own procedures.

The city took a stand to impose different demolition procedures depending on the circumstances of the structures being complained about.


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