Removal of illegal structures in Kennon stalled by meager fund
The demolition of illegal structures along Kennon Road is not acted upon due to insufficient funding.
This was the response of the Baguio City District Engineering Office of the Department of the Department of Public Works and Highways (BCDEO-DPWH) to Councilor Fred Bagbagen who expressed disappointment at the mushrooming of illegal structures on the Baguio side of the major access road.
“Since these structures have no building permit, they are not connected to our sewage treatment plant and this pollutes the river bed. Why are we allowing these illegal structures to exist?” Bagbagen said.
He said this must be addressed immediately, especially that Kennon Road is now open to the public.
BCDEO-DPWH District Engineer Rene Zarate said the demolition of illegal structures along major thoroughfares in the city was covered by their major routine maintenance fund in the previous years which, according to him, could not be solely devoted to the dismantling of these illegal structures.
Zarate said their office is currently conducting a “thorough” inventory of all illegal structures on the Baguio side of Kennon Road for the programming of demolition operations to be included in their major routine maintenance fund under their annual program.
He said there are 57 inventoried illegal structures that are ready for dismantling.
However, he admitted they need more time to prepare the funding requirements for the dismantling of the rest of the illegal structures which they classified in their inventory as “permanent structures.”
He said their office would ask the assistance of the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) for the implementation of demolition orders along major roads in the city including Kennon Road.
Engr. Donal Gas-ib, CBAO Investigation Division chief, said the removal of illegal structures and obstructions along national roads is the mandate of the DPWH, but the CBAO is “willing” to help in the demolition operations conducted by the BCDEO-DPWH.
A joint meeting among BCDEO-DPWH, CBAO, and barangay officials of Camp 7 and Camp 8 was set to come up with concrete solutions on the issue of squatting along Kennon Road. – Jordan G. Habbiling