BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan announced that representatives of concerned government agencies, the local government and the informal settler agreed to reset the scheduled demolition of some 58 illegal structures that were erected over the 5,000-square meter Benguet-Ifugao-Bontoc-Apayao-Kalinga (BIBAK) property along Harrison Road from August 15 to October 15 to give a final chance for the squatters to negotiate with the owner of their prospective relocation site in La Trinidad town.
The local chief executive explained the decision to reset the demolition of the illegal BIBAK settlers was the consensus of Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Cordillera (DENR-CAR) regional director Ralph Pablo and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples–Cordillera (NCIP-CAR) regional director Roland Calde who emphasized that the resetting of the dismantling of the illegal structures would be the final one.
Under the agreement entered into among the agency and city officials and the informal settlers, it was agreed that the ones who built their structures in the government property would already stop doing their business activities in the area and for them to start removing their illegal structures as those buildings that will be left standing after October 15, 2017, will be demolished by the members of the city demolition team.
“We have to admit that we are losing our credibility with the repeated resetting of the scheduled demolition of the illegal structures but we hope that our constituents will understand our position because of the representations that have been done by officials of the Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor,” Domogan stressed.
Based on the representations of PCUP officials, he claimed there is still a need for the informal settlers to negotiate with the owner of their identified relocation site on payment arrangements and how will be the development undertaken by the informal settlers in coordination with the concerned government agencies.
According to him, it was made clear to the informal settlers that the October 15, 2017, deadline will be the final one and no more extension that will be granted to them and it will now be up to them to decide whether or not to remove their structures voluntarily or it will be the members of the city demolition team that will dismantle the illegal structures.
The 5,000-square meter BIBAK property is part of Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. 1 in the name of the Republic of the Philippines and the said area was ceded to the BIBAK purposely to accommodate the dormitories where BIBAK students are supposed to stay while studying in the city and in other parts of Benguet.
Domogan appealed to the public to understand the decision of the concerned government agencies and the local government in resetting the scheduled demolition of the illegal structures because of the various representations that were made by some responsible officials, particularly the PCUP, because they are closely working for the finalization of the agreement with the land owner of their proposed relocation site considering that something is being done about it unlike in other squatted properties where nothing is being done by the informal settlers to move out of the government properties.
By Dexter A. See