Loakan residents seek relief over impending demolition
Residents of Loakan Proper turned to the city council for help after receiving a notice of violation from the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO).
The members of the Loakan Green Meadows Homeowners Association Inc. and other residents of Loakan Proper, fretted over the possible dismantling of their houses situated within the buffer zone of the Loakan Airport. They requested for a dialogue with Mayor Benjamin Magalong through the assistance of the august body.
The city government has earlier announced it will clear the airport of all obstructions in preparation for its reopening for commercial operations.
Engr. Stephen Capuyan, head of the CBAO Investigation and Demolition Division, informed the city council that the issuance of the violation notice was enforced pursuant to Magalong’s call for an investigation on the buildings and houses erected within the buffer zone at the Loakan Airport.
Capuyan reiterated that the buffer zone measures 75 meters from the centerline on each side of the runway. Of the approximately 200 structures within the declared buffer zone, 150 had already been issued violation notice.
He, however clarified that the notice was merely to inform the occupants that they violated Section 22 of the Environment Code of the City of Baguio/Ordinance 018-2016 (prohibition against erecting a structure on a safeguarded zone).
The CBAO mandated the residents to submit copies of their lot titles, building and occupancy permits, and other pertinent documents within seven days.
Capuyan said their office will coordinate with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to re-assess the cases of residents with sufficient documents. Cases of occupants with no proof of ownership over the lots and their erected properties will be forwarded to the city’s Anti-Squatting and Anti-Illegal Structures Committee for appropriate action, Capuyan said.
Several legislators questioned the CBAO’s issuance of building permits to the residents within the buffer zone. They said that the residents within the area should not have been issued building permits in the first place.
“The office that issued the applicants building permits is the very same office that tells them their houses are subject to demolition,” Councilor Betty Tabanda said.
Capuyan said the onus is on the CAAP as “they are the ones issuing a certification or clearance.”
“Before our office issues a building permit, the CAAP will issue fist a certification or clearance because that’s their job,” Capuyan said.
Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan reminded the CBAO to conduct first consult with the residents before issuing notices and directives to avoid causing panic.
Councilors Mylen Victoria Yaranon and Benny Bomogao requested the CAAP to present the development plan of the Loakan Airport before the City Council. The said presentation was scheduled Feb. 24.
The city council has referred the residents’ request for a dialogue with the mayor to the Committee on Urban Planning, Lands, and Housing chaired by Councilor Fred Bagbagen. – Jordan G. Habbiling