July 23, 2024

A simplified procedure on the disposition of cases is being worked on by the City Legal Office to abate the increase of illegal structures and squatting on safeguarded lands.

The CLO is proposing several amendments to Executive Order 51, s. 2020 to shorten the procedure on the issuance of demolition orders for illegal structures – those without building permits and those encroaching safeguarded lands.

The city wants expanded jurisdiction of the Anti-Squatting and Anti-Illegal Structure Committee (ASAISC) over illegal structures within titled private properties except when there is an issue of ownership or boundary dispute.

In the old order, the committee has no jurisdiction on structures within private titled properties unless there is public interest.

Atty. Charles Dumasi of the CLO proposes a summary demolition order to be issued upon recommendation of the City Building and Architecture Office (CBAO) without need of going to the committee to conduct conferences if the concern is squatting within safeguarded lands.

It was also proposed that demolition orders shall become stale if they are not implemented within three years unless they are imbued with public interest; with only one motion for reconsideration to be allowed. No more motions for recommendation will be entertained for previously issued demolition orders.

For cases within the jurisdiction of the courts, it was proposed that CBAO shall immediately cause the dismissal of complaints and let the judiciary handle such.

Dumasi also proposes to transfer the secretariat to CBAO instead of CLO for shorter proceedings using the Local Government Code as basis in the issuance of demolition orders to illegal structures.

As per the approved process, complaints for alleged illegal constructions will be filed with the CBAO which will conduct an investigation on the complaint based on their own investigation procedures then the city imposes different demolition procedures depending on the circumstances of the structures being complained about.

Ongoing illegal constructions situated on titled properties are usually given 60 days to legalize their structure by applying for building permits; otherwise, the owner will be charged for violation of Presidential Decree 1096 and the structure will be subject for demolition.

For illegal structures built on lots not owned by the structure owner and for structures built on unregistered lots, the structure owner will be asked to discontinue the construction or dismantle the structure within 24 hours.

If the owner refuses, then the city will undertake the demolition and file a criminal complaint against the owner.

For structures built within the right-of-way of national roads, the complaint will be endorsed to the Department of Public Works and Highways-Baguio City Engineering District while those built on public places, right-of-way of city or barangay roads and danger areas, forest reservations, water reservation, and similar areas, the investigation report and notices of violations will be endorsed to the CLO for immediate issuance of demolition order. – Jessa Mary P. Samidan