Baguio mayor to seek clarification on land use policy of incoming President Duterte

BAGUIO CITY –- Re-elected Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan will seek to clarify some policies which incoming President Rodrigo Duterte wants to implement when he assumes office on July 1.

Domogan on Wednesday said Duterte’s “no relocation, no demolition” policy is too general and might send the wrong signal to enterprising land speculators and their cohorts to willfully invade public and private lands for their own personal advantage.

The “no relocation, no demolition” policy might result in the proliferation of informal settlers in watershed and forest reservations that will greatly damage the state of the environment, Domogan said.

He cited Republic Act (RA) 7279 or the Urban Housing and Development Act which provides that those entitled to relocation sites are members of the urban poor, duly registered with the local government units (LGUs) concerned and that their structures should have been built before March 1992.

The incoming president’s policy may be used by various urban poor groups and professional squatters to build their structures on public lands and then demand from the government relocation sites and payments for their improvements, thereby compromising the efforts of local officials to abate the proliferation of squatters in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

Domogan said the President-elect is aware of the squatting problems, being the incumbent mayor of Davao City.

Domogan is looking forward to being informed about the guidelines of Duterte’s “no relocation, no demolition” policy the soonest possible time in order to abate the unscrupulous plans of enterprising urban poor groups and professional squatters in entering open spaces in the different parts of the country and subsequently demand for relocation sites pursuant to the incoming administration’s policy.

He said local officials nationwide are trying their best to protect public lands from being squatted upon by professional squatters considering that the same could be used for other productive purposes by concerned government agencies in order to uplift the welfare of their constituents. PNA/