City gets aggressive in anti-squatting campaign
The city government will halt ongoing constructions in residential and forest reservations that are not covered by building permits as it adopted a more aggressive stance against squatting and violators of the National Building Code and environment laws.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong, who ordered an intensified campaign against ongoing illegal structures last March 3, formed a core group called the Baguio Anti-Squatting and Illegal Structures (Basis) to conduct inspections and identify and stop structural developments not covered by the necessary permits.
The Basis is composed of personnel from the City Buildings and Architecture Office, the City Environment and Parks Management Office, the City Legal Office, the City Engineering Office, and deputized environment officers of the Baguio City Police Office.
Since the mayor issued the order, BCPO City Director Francis Bulwayan Jr. included the monitoring of ongoing constructions in residential, commercial, and forest areas in regular patrol activities of the different police stations.
Those not covered by permits were reported to the CBAO for verification and issuance of notices of violation and cease and desist orders.
As a result of the inspections, an ongoing residential building construction at GEFA barangay was issued a cease and desist order with the owner advised against pursuing further construction activities and to secure building permit. The owner was likewise directed to clean and clear all construction materials and debris obstructing the sidewalk immediately and to enclose the construction site with green G.I. sheets pursuant to Executive Order 17, s. 2020.
An ongoing construction of a rooftop enclosure at Roman Ayson, Campo Filipino was also slapped with similar orders for having no permit.
In Outlook Drive, four ongoing structural developments (two ongoing building constructions, one extension, and one digging of foundation) were found without building permits posted at the construction sites in Purok 2 and Purok 4.
The BCPO endorsed its findings to the CBAO for verification and issuance of notices of violation of the Building Code.
Three ongoing large constructions at Navy Base St. Joseph Village were also issued cease and desist orders.
Aggressive monitoring of forest reservations like Busol and Buyog watersheds is also continuing also on orders of the mayor.
Regular patrols at Buyog by the BCPO Station 2, CBAO, and Cepmo led to the discovery of an ongoing illegal construction inside the watershed of which the owner will be issued a notice of violation.
Unauthorized constructions were also spotted by roving personnel of the BCPO Station 3 while on foot patrol at the Forbes forest reservation along South Drive Road last April 9.
Follow-up ocular on April 11 by BCPO Police Station 3, CBAO and Cepmo showed the shanties already removed by the perpetrators.
“Please know that the city is taking this campaign seriously since this is a very crucial issue in our city. It is not just an issue of safety but also of health and sanitation, all of which are critical factors affecting the well-being of our residents,” the mayor said. – Jessa Samidan and Aileen Refuerzo