BAGUIO CITY – The city government has given a 30-day ultimatum to more than 50 informal settlers within the 5,000-square meter Benguet-Ifugao-Bontok-Apayao-Kalinga (BIBAK) property along Harrison Road to voluntarily vacate the area or the local government will be constrained to demolish their illegal structures to pave the way for the utilization of the property for its prescribed use.
The city building and architecture office (CBAO) led by Engr. Nazita Bañes already issued the appropriate demolition notices to the informal settlers in the area to allow the city government, in close coordination with the concerned stakeholders, to prepare the master development plan for the BIBAK property.
“We have given the informal settlers enough time to vacate the area and concerned investigating agencies were able to discover that the property is not being used for BIBAK student dormitory but instead some of them have been earning income by renting out portions of the area to willing individuals,” Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan stressed.
He cited even the two Commissioners of the Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor (PCUP) who came to the city several weeks ago to conduct an investigation on the situation of the informal settlers within the BIBAK property found out that some of those occupying the place are not members of the urban poor contrary to their earlier claim that they are members of the urban poor.
The local chief executive also directed the newly formed leaders of the BIBAK organization to complete their documents so that the city government will be able to coordinate with them in relation to the preparation of the mater development plan of the area after the illegal structures shall have been demolished to maximize the utilization of the available spaces for cultural activities of the BIBAK group.
Earlier, the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) passed a resolution supporting the immediate demolition of the over 50 illegal structures that were erected within the BIBAK property and that the area must be used for its prescribed purpose for student dormitories to cater to the lodging requirements of students coming from the different parts of the region.
According to him, the area still belongs to Iriginal Cetificate of title (OCT) No. 1 under the Republic of the Philippines but 5,000 square meters was segregated from the said title to be used primarily for the BIBK student dormitories.
It can be recalled that the two student dormitories that were erected in the 1970s were demolished during the time of Mayor Bueno in the early 1980s due to alleged structural defects until the said area was used as the area occupied by the Cordillera Bodong Administration (CBAD) and the Cordillera Regional Assembly (CRA).
Even DENR records show that the area along Harrison Road has been earmarked for the needs of BIBAK students that is why concerned DENR officials refused to succumbed to the tremendous lobbying of the affected residents for the agency to reverse its stand on the matter.
Domogan assured concerned stakeholders that the city government will coordinate and consult the concerned government agencies and organizations in the crafting of a master development plan for the area so that it will serve as a center for the preservation and promotion of the Cordillera culture and traditions, especially in the highly urbanized city. By Dexter A. See