BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan was surprised to receive a report from concerned local government offices and law enforcement agencies that there are still one hundred fifty illegal structures within the Baguio Dairy Farm that have yet to be demolished by the combined members of the city demolition team and concerned government agencies.
The mayor said it will be up to the Cordillera office of the Department of Agriculture (DA-CAR) and the sheriff to explain why the remaining structures have to be demolished when the special writ of demolition issued by a local court provides for the dismantling of more than 334 illegal structures that were erected on the government property.
He admitted there are now valid issues that are arising from the outright demolition of the small illegal structures while the big ones were allegedly left for future dismantling but there were undisclosed issues that cropped up which caused the temporary suspension of the on-going demolition activities in the area.
“It will up to be the concerned government agencies to explain the delay in the demolition of the illegal structures within the Baguio Dairy Farm property. We should remember that the demolition of the illegal structures was an offshoot of a final and executive decision handed down by a local court and not the local government that is why it is the DA-CAR and sheriff that will answer all the issues and concerns that have cropped up in the course of the demolition,” Domogan stressed.
The 92-hectare Baguio Dairy Farm is a proclaimed government property under the agriculture department supposed to be used to mass-produce dairy products but a good number of its area has been squatted upon by increasing number of informal settlers who built their illegal structures in various portions of the reservation.
According to him, aside from personnel of the City Public Order and Safety Division (POSD), the local government also deployed some 100 police from the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) who served as peacekeeping officers in the implementation of the initial wave of demolition of 180 illegal structures in the property.
He urged the DA-CAR and the sheriff to fastrack the resolution of the issues that have cropped up during the initial wave of the demolition so that the dismantling of the remaining undemolished structures will push thoroughly to end the long standing issue of squatting within the declared government property.
Domogan admitted one of the reasons why the August 15, 2017 scheduled demolition of the illegal structures within the Benguet-Ifugao-Bontoc-Apayao-Kalinga (BIBAK) property along Harrison Road was the fact that the BCPO can no longer provide adequate security for the members of the demolition team considering that almost one-sixth of its police force was deployed to serve as peace officers for the demolition of the illegal structures within the Baguio Dairy Farm, thus, the resetting of the dismantling of the illegal BIBAK structures to October 15, 2017.
By Dexter A. See