March 2, 2024

The city council approved a resolution requesting for the deferment of the implementation of Demolition Order 11, s. 2019.
Residents of Balacbac, Sto. Tomas Proper asked the city council to help them after the City Mayor’s Office junked their motion for the latter to reconsider its move to demolish their properties on Feb. 11.
The City Demolition Team under the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) was ordered to implement Demolition Order 11, s. 2019 which was issued by former mayor Mauricio Domogan.
One hundred individuals who constructed commercial buildings and houses in a parcel of land with an area of 23,697 square meters are affected by the demolition order.
The investigation conducted by the CBAO in 2017 revealed that the structures in the areas were not issued building permits. In a separate investigation and ocular inspection conducted by the Public Order and Safety Division in the same year, the findings revealed that the occupants had no legal documents and proof of ownership, in violation of Section 301 of the National Building Code.
The investigations were prompted by a letter of complaint filed by the heirs of the late Maximo Galgana, claimant of the lot covered by Transfer Certificate Title No. T-27908 of the Registry of Deeds (ROD).
In his order signed on May 30, 2019, Domogan stated that it was his “duty to enforce all laws against illegal structures within the city.”
Domogan cited the National Building Code, which provides that construction without permit is illegal. He also cited Letter of Instruction 19, which orders the removal of illegal construction built within or have encroached on the lot.
Alejandro Agpes, president of Balacbac Peoples Association, contested the demolition order, claiming that the lot in question was one of the unvalidated 211 titles and that it had reverted to its original status.
He cited Executive Order 152, s. 2002, which provides that the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) has been designated as the clearing house for the conduct of demolition and eviction activities involving the homeless and underprivileged citizens.
With the denial of the association’s motion for reconsideration, Agpes appealed to the city council for a conference with the Land Registration Authority (LRA), PCUP, ROD, and other agencies regarding the legitimacy of their claims.
The city council advised members of the association to file a second motion for reconsideration and attach their legal documents.
Agpes also cited the case of Luis Namba, member of Balacbac Peoples Association, who in 2018 sought help from the LRA which acted in his favor. Namba’s application is now pending before the DENR.
Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda suggested to the members of the association to apply for ownership over the land citing the case of Namba as a precedent in legitimizing their occupancy.
Councilor Benny Bomogao mentioned Ordinance 89-2018, which provides for a moratorium on demolition of structures that are in actual, physical, and notorious possession in the concept of an owner.
“Opposites, claimants, prospective buyers, and speculators have repeatedly used a complaint for violation of the decree or specifically, ‘building without permit’ as a potent weapon to dispossess, harass, or grab possession and ownership over the lands in question,” the ordinance stated.
Bomogao said the council may invoke the ordinance to put a moratorium on the impending demolition at Balacbac, Sto. Tomas Proper. – Jordan G. Habbiling