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Domogan criticizes suspension of demolition of informal settlers’ structures

BAGUIO CITY February 04 – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan here branded the recent order of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III to national government agencies and local government units to suspend evictions nationwide as vague in the sense that there are already existing laws governing the sensitive issue.

In his letter to Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo, Domogan pointed out that Republic Act (RA) 7279 otherwise known as the Urban Development Housing Act which clearly enumerates the structures of informal settlers that cannot be demolished unless there is clear compliance with the requirements of the law.

The local chief executive said that the consequence of the directive is serious and damaging to the city since the local government has pending demolition orders which are ready for implementation covering structures constructed on watersheds, forest reservations, road-rights-of-way, river and creek beds and private titled properties. These structures have been investigated and found to be outside the exceptions enumerated in RA 7279.

“It appears likewise that the directive is ordering us not to demolish structures that will be constructed from now on road-right-of-ways, watersheds, forest reservations, parks, among others which we respectfully submit as violative of existing laws. In short, the city is being prevented to do its duty to protect our watersheds, parks, forests, road-right-of-ways, school sites. By demolishing structures illegally constructed on the said areas.” Domogan stressed.

Last January 28, 2011, President Aquino issued a directive to all national government agencies and local governments to suspend evictions nationwide. Subsequently, Senior Superintendent William Waay Viteno of the Police Regional Office (PRO) in the Cordillera issued a memorandum dated January 31, 2011 directing all station commanders not to grant requests for police assistance or participation of police personnel in any eviction or demolition of informal settlers.

Domogan asserted that the city government does not demolish buildings and structures of informal settlers who are protected by RA 7279.
“We are afraid that if the said directive is not recalled, our few remaining watersheds, forest reservations parks, etc. will be invaded by squatters who will easily claim that they are informal settlers.” He added.

Instead of circulating the order to local governments which might send a wrong signal to informal settlers to invade the remaining forests and watersheds in the city, he proposed that Aquino recall the controversial order and compel local governments to strictly comply with RA 7279.

Baguio plays host to numerous watersheds and forest reservations which are slowly being invaded by informal settlers in the guise that the lands are reportedly their ancestral land claims with titles which were issued by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) over the past several years, thus, efforts are being done by the city government and concerned environmentalists to protect the city’s forests.

 
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ADVISORY

STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS 2017

STATEMENT IN REPLY TO THE PUBLISHED OPEN LETTER OF BCDA PRESIDENT and CEO ARNEL PACIANO D. CASANOVA

STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS
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Speech Delivered by Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan during the Cordillera Month Closing Ceremony
July 26 SLU-BC

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