BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan denied having softened his hardline position on the outright demolition of the illegal structures erected over the Bontoc-Ifugao-Benguet-Apayao-Kalinga (BIBAK) property along Harrison road, saying that the dismantling of the more than sixty illegal structures will push through any time after the lapse of the June 30 self-imposed deadline of the informal settlers.
The local chief executive pointed out he has to again convene the inter-agency committee composed of the representative from the Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor (PCUP), the regional director of the Cordillera office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the regional director of the National Commission on Indigenous peoples (NCIP), the City Building official and himself to discuss the schedule of the demolition activities that will be undertaken in the area.
He admitted having received feelers from a number of informal settlers who committed to voluntarily demolish their structures every beyond their self-imposed deadline while others remain adamant in leaving the government property despite their signing the commitment for them to voluntarily dismantle their structures on or before June 30.
“We have to consult the inter-agency committee members on when to schedule the demolition of the illegal structures in the area. We cannot demolish all the structures in one day that is why we have to work on the schedule to allow us to convince the informal settlers to be the ones to remove their structures and not to wait for the demolition team to do so,” Domogan stressed.
He also claimed he was informed by concerned PCUP officials that the informal settlers are willing to vacate the property and remove their structures but what is delaying them is the reported difficulty in locating a temporary relocation area where they could transfer while awaiting the completion of the documentary requirements for their identified relocation site in La Trinidad, Benguet.
Further, Domogan disclosed he was also informed by officials of the Housing Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) in the Cordillera that they approved the registration of the group from the BIBAK area as a homeowners association to be able to legitimize their transactions with concerned government agencies and the La Trinidad municipal government regarding their proposed relocation site.
He urged the BIBAK informal settlers to continue cooperating with the PCUP to be able to fastrack the processing of the documents for the finalization of possible agreements with the land owners of their proposed relocation site so that they could already start negotiating for the acquisition of loans from concerned government agencies for their houses to be built in the area and abandon the government property which is being eyed to be fenced before the preparation of the appropriate master plan for the upcoming BIBAK students in the city.
The 5,000-square meter BIBAK property along Harrison Road is under Original Certificate of title (OCT) No. 1 under the Republic of the Philippines which was eventually ceded to the BIBAK organization several decades ago and is now under the care of the NCIP-CAR. By Dexter A. See