Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the city’s anti-squatting campaign had been scoring big gains since its revitalization last year but more needs to be done.
The mayor cited city government offices City Buildings and Architecture Office, the City Engineering Office, City Environment and Parks Management Office, and the Baguio City Police Office which he said have been working double time in monitoring, reporting and facilitating the legalization and demolition of illegal structures and constructions found in safeguarded lots like watersheds as well as in regular lots in the different barangays in the city.
“Malaki na ang nagawa ng grupo at tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang daily patrols at monitoring ng ating mga police at city offices sa watersheds at mga barangays. Karamihan ng reports at nanggagaling sa ating kapulisan at private individuals. Bukod dito, tuloy-tuloy din ang demolition proceedings sa mga nai-report na illegal structures ng ating Anti-Squatting and Anti-Illegal Structure Committee,” the mayor said.
However, he said a lot more needs to be done considering the enormity of the squatting problem.
“This is a serious issue we are facing especially since the squatters have gone bold and blatant in disregarding the laws while some were resorting to a ploy to gain sympathy,” he said.
“We really to be aggressive on this and give serious attention to this problem if we really want to save our remaining watersheds, forest covers, water sources and our remaining disposable lots,” the mayor said.
He said the city needs the help of the various sectors in reporting illegal structures. “We need the cooperation of the public. May we all be vigilant in solving this perennial problem,” he said.
In April, 223 constructions in titled and untitled lots and road right-of-ways were halted for permit violations while 26 new illegal constructions in three watersheds were endorsed for demolition.
As per procedures, owners of illegal structures found in titled lots without ownership issues are ordered to stop construction and secure a building permit. Those with conflicts are issued cease and desist orders with the advice to resolve the lot issues.
Constructions on untitled or unregistered lots are issued notices of violation and subjected to investigations.
Structures found in safeguarded lots are immediately endorsed for summary demolition.
The public is encouraged to report illegal structures to CBAO 442-2503. – Aileen P. Refuerzo