Issue of August 4, 2019
     
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Benguet
Ifugao
 
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Informal settlers abound at Dairy Farm
by PIO release

The City Legal Office and the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) confirmed the presence of informal settlers who intruded portions of the eight-hectare lot within the Baguio Dairy Farm that was ceded by the Department of Agriculture to the city government.

Lawyer Rheenan Diwas reported during the regular management committee meeting presided by Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong that the informal settlers reportedly belong to the Cordillera Knights of the Old Cove, an urban poor association in the city through the years and whose members were the owners of structures that were earlier demolished by the local government a few years ago.

He said some of the owners of the previously demolished shanties allegedly rebuilt their structures in the area as confirmed by the social preparation report of CSWDO, accounting for a significant increase in the number of informal settlers in the area since the demolition of the illegal structures temporarily stopped following a series of restraining orders issued by local courts.

Diwas said the three lots spanning over eight hectares ceded to the city government for public use is squatted upon by an increasing number of informal settlers.

Earlier, the Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch 2 issued a special demolition order for the dismantling of 344 illegal structures within portions of the 94-hectare Baguio Dairy Farm but some property owners secured restraining orders.

In her social preparation report, CSWD Officer Betty Fangasan said there are 147 shanties discovered in the area.

Of the number, 112 are occupied while 35 are unoccupied and whose owners only visit the area during meetings as some of them allegedly own other houses in the city.

Fangasan added that the area where the structures have been erected is hazardous.

Magalong said the city government needs the lot for two strategic projects needing substantial spaces – the waste-to-energy project needing 2.6 hectares and the proposed south-bound bus terminal requiring at least four hectares.

He said the proponents of the two major projects are willing to provide employment to the informal settlers for them to have sustainable sources of livelihood.


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