July 24, 2024

The Baguio City Prosecutor’s Office has dismissed the complaint filed by the city government of Baguio against the site owner of Igorot Stone Kingdom which was ordered closed last year for lack of permit to operate and safety issues.
In a resolution issued Feb. 22, Prosecuting Attorney Oliver Isabelo Prudencio dismissed the complaint for violation of Section 301 of Presidential Decree 1096 or the National Building Code of the Philippines filed by the city through City Buildings and Architecture Officer Johnny Degay against site owner Pio Velasco and Hajji Velasco after it appeared they satisfactorily complied with all the requirements of the buildings concerned.
The prosecutor noted the requirements were duly received by the Office of the City Administrator acknowledging compliance of the Velascos to the requisites imposed on them by the city government for the issuance of permits for the concerned structures.
On Dec. 5, 2022, Prudencio ordered the suspension of the preliminary investigation of the complaint since Velasco’s compliance with the requirements was nearing completion.
On Dec. 14, 2022, the city government filed a motion for reconsideration of said order, which led the reviewing prosecutor to issue a resolution on Jan. 20 remanding the complaint to Prudencio for it to be resolved based on merits raised by both parties.
Before issuing a resolution, the Velascos informed the Office of the Prosecutor on Feb. 17 as well as the Office of the City Administrator on Feb. 13 they have complied with the requirements for their application of building permits, thus ending the issues raised in the complaint.
The prosecutor reiterated PD 1096 is curative in nature and submission of the requisites for securing a building permit addresses the complaint raised by the CBAO official and it could be a basis for the dismissal of the complaints against the Velascos.
The 6,000-square-meter Igorot Stone Kingdom, which gained prominence as a tourist attraction for showcasing the Igorots’ skills in masonry, was said to be located in an erosion prone area, based on the climate risk and vulnerability assessment by the Asian Development Bank, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.
Its construction started during the height of Covid-19 pandemic and began operating as a tourist attraction in 2021. – Hanna C. Lacsamana