Illegal settlers urged to vacate watersheds

ILLEGAL settlers within the Busol watershed in Baguio City were asked to vacate prior to the scheduled demolition.

In the weekly Talakayan sa Environment Code radio forum of the Baguio Regreening Movement (BRM), Councilor Mylen Yaranon said the city will conduct a resurvey of the watershed to address grey areas in the city's Comprehensive Land Use Plan (Clup).

Yaranon said measures are now being prepared to once and for all identify the official boundaries of watersheds in the city.

"What we will be doing now is to survey all watershed areas and identify because we just could not remove squatters if it is still not defined on the ground what the boundaries of our watershed areas are, and this is our direction now," Yaranon said.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong earlier said that the demolition of illegal settlers at the Busol watershed was agreed on August 9 in a dialogue with occupants.

Lawyer Erdolfo Balajadia, BRM chairman, confirmed structures are being constructed within the watershed.

"Based on the investigation by the city which I saw, there are unfinished big buildings inside the Busol watershed. What are we going to do with this structures that have been built in spite of the fact that they knew that this is a watershed," said Balajadia.

Magalong, meanwhile, stressed to the 150 watershed occupants the city's firm position to safeguard the remaining unoccupied portion of the watershed.

Busol, the city's biggest source of 35 to 40 percent potable water, is embroiled in several court cases involving informal settlers and ancestral land claimants.


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