BAGUIO CITY – The city government and concerned government agencies are inclined to pursue the demolition of at least 400 structures that were illegally built by unscrupulous individuals inside government and forest reservations in the different parts of the city in order to rid the Summer Capital of the proliferation of informal settlers that affect the integrity of the existing reservations.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said the biggest demolition to be done in the city is the removal of some 333 illegal structures that were built inside the Baguio Stock Farm reservation of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in barangay Dontogan which will take place anytime after the concerned court sheriff shall have issued to the concerned individuals the appropriate notices.
At the same time, the local chief executive disclosed the demolition of the more than 50 illegal structures built within the BIBAK reservation along Harrison road will also be pursued after the scheduled meeting with officials of the Presidential Commission on Urban Poor (PCUP) which requested the temporary deferment of the demolition until such time that the city government shall have explained to the agency the circumstances that warranted the issuance of the demolition order of the said structures.
On the other hand, Domogan revealed the demolition of the 6 illegal shanties erected within the nursery site of the 112-hectare Busol watershed will also push through anytime considering that the affected individuals already lost their legal battle with the Supreme Court (SC) which declared their stay in the area as illegal and upheld the issuance of a demolition order for the removal of the illegal structures within the watershed reservation.
Furthermore, he instructed the city building official to issue the subsequent notices to the identified illegal structures in the Busol watershed so that the removal of the illegal structures will follow after the demolition of the 6 illegal structures that were already declared illegal by the SC.
According to him, the issuance of the appropriate notices for the demolition of the illegal structures already passed through the regular procedures that resulted to the subsequent issuance of the necessary orders for the removal of the illegal structures that were built in declared government and forest reservations.
In the case of the Baguio Dairy Farm and the Busol watershed, the city mayor explained the owners of the illegal structures already lost their respective legal remedies that is why there is no question on the legitimacy of the implementation of the demolition orders of the structures.
However, he explained in the case of the illegal structures within the BIBAK area, the affected individuals sought the assistance of the PCUP to justify their stay in the area when they are not qualified to be considered as urban poor but instead urban rich.
While the city government was already able to submit its position paper on the request of PCUP to defer the demolition, Domogan said he will still meet with PCUP officials who will be coming up to the city anytime next week in order to explain to them the real situation in the area so that they will be clarified on why the city government is insistent on removing the illegal structures in the area.
By Dexter A. See