March 4, 2024

The city government has demolished a number of residential structures in two barangays bordering the Busol watershed reservation last week as part of its drive to clear up the city of illegal structures.
City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña said the demolition team under the Office of the City Mayor was set to demolish 16 illegal structures in Barangays Liteng and Ambiong, but was only able to carry out the removal of five houses after some of the owners have secured temporary restraining orders (TRO).
He said the city’s demolition team will investigate the validity of the TROs and will definitely proceed with the demolition once the illegal status of the structures is affirmed.
He said the demolition of other houses was also postponed due to humanitarian considerations but assured the same will still have to push through in compliance with the order.
Dela Peña said due process was observed in the latest demolition as has been done in other clearing up procedures started by the city government under the current administration.
He said the concerned structure owners were advised of the demolition as early as January this year and were notified of subsequent demolition orders giving them time to remove their properties voluntarily.
“We have to understand that Busol is a watershed and it is one of the city’s main sources of water supply. If we will not stop building structures within the reservation, our water source will be contaminated,” dela Peña said in an interview March 26.
In 2019, Mayor Benjamin Magalong agreed to put on hold the demolition of eight ongoing constructions at the watershed after the informal settlers committed to guard the area from further intrusion. He reiterated the city’s firm stand to protect Busol’s remaining unoccupied portion.
Dela Peña said the latest demolition is only part of the citywide clearing up of structures found illegally built on government properties, including the ongoing road rights-of-way cleanup and in private properties subject to filing of complaints by concerned owners.
“This is being done all over the city. This time, once demolition orders are issued and ample time is given to voluntarily demolish, we will no longer defer,” dela Peña added. – Hanna C. Lacsamana