BAGUIO CITY – The city government has scheduled the demolition of the illegal structures at the government-owned Benguet-Ifugao-Bontoc-Apayao-Kalinga (BIBAK) lot along Harrison Road this January.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan last Tuesday met with representatives from the city legal office, city buildings and architecture office, Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources Cordillera (DENR-CAR) and the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) to map out plans and prepare the logistics for the clearing operation.
The mayor said a representative of the Philippine Commission on Urban Poor (PCUP) also joined the meeting.
The mayor said the city is also willing to help the would-be evictees by determining an appropriate relocation site for them.
“If we can find a relocation site for them, we will see what we can do to also help them,” the mayor.
He said the PCUP representative informed that they are finalizing plan for a possible relocation site at La Trinidad, Benguet for the occupants.
The Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch V last Oct. 28 declared as valid the demolition order issued by the city government and dismissed the two cases filed by the lot occupants aimed at stopping the city government from implementing Demolition Order No. 24 series of 2015.
The same court last Oct. 22 denied for the second time the petitioners’ motions for the issuance of a temporary restraining order to hold the demolition.
On Sept. 9, the court first denied the motion citing earlier rulings that the claimants have no right over the lot and thus over the structures they built on the area because they do not own the lot and their buildings were not authorized by the owner of the lot.
City legal officer Melchor Carlos Rabanes earlier told city department head that there is no more legal impediment for the city to pursue the demolition of structures on said lots despite questions from the PCUP.
The city has been seeking to rid the site of the occupants who the city said do not possess building permits and who are not members of the urban poor and are using their structures for business purposes without care for sanitation and order.
The demolition was also supported by the Regional Development Council-Cordillera Administrative Region (RDC-CAR) and the DENR-CAR which said the “petitioners’ occupation has no legal basis and neither can they qualify as beneficiaries under (Republic Act) No. 10023 (Act Authorizing the Issuance of Free Patents to Residential Lands) because the lot is not alienable and disposable.
By Aileen P. Refuerzo