The City Engineering Office raised concerns on the proposed construction of a bypass road at the Buyog watershed including the potential adverse ecological impact of the project on the watershed.
During the meeting on the proposed project last Sept. 21 at the Baguio City District Engineering Office-Department of Public Works and Highways Multipurpose Hall, the CEO headed by Engr. Edgar Victorio Olpindo expressed concern on the possible effects of having a road network within the watershed considering the fast dwindling resources in the forest reserve long beset by squatting problems.
Engr. Amy Gas-ib of the CEO Traffic and Transport Management Division also cited Proclamation 93, s. 1992 which prohibits any infrastructure construction within the watershed.
The project may also affect the proposed rainwater harvesting facility being worked on by Mayor Benjamin Magalong for possible implementation in 2024.
During the meeting, it was gathered that the bypass road was proposed by Rep. Marquez Go in response to requests from the punong barangays of Pinget, West Quirino Hill, and Middle Quirino Hill.
The barangay officials cited the benefits of having the bypass road in the area that would serve as an emergency pass and would help in mobility as it would connect two distinct areas.
They added the presence of the road would prevent squatters from encroaching on open land. They said the proposed road alignment ensures no trees will be cut.
The BCDEO representative said the proposed project traverses the Buyog watershed, which falls under the jurisdiction of Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Baguio Water District.
BWD had also expressed reservation about allowing the road construction as the decision involves multiple stakeholders.
It was noted the bypass road’s planned route will traverse the location of the daycare center.
Noting the concerns raised especially the presence of Proclamation 93-1992, the BCDEO decided to suspend the project in the meantime that the legal impediment has not been resolved.
The barangay officials will work out the inclusion of the project in the amended process of the proclamation for the segregation of some portions of the watershed for award to qualified occupants.
The matter will also be escalated to the city council for further consideration and appropriate action.
The CEO resolved to also endorse the matter to the City Buildings and Architecture Office to check on structures that have encroached within the said watershed since it is clear on the said proclamation that there should not be any type of structure within the said reserve.