Mayor Benjamin has issued an ultimatum to the city’s 128 barangays to discharge their task of reporting and preventing the proliferation of illegal structures and squatting activities in their areas of jurisdiction. In Memorandum Order No. 32-2023 dated May 30, 2023, the mayor warned the barangays to comply with the provisions of Executive Order No. 83-2021 where he tasked them to
“prevent construction of illegal structures and squatting activities” or risk being charged for gross negligence and dereliction of duty, both of which are grounds for administrative disciplinary action.

EO 83-2021 specifically ordered the barangay officials to “make an inventory and to report all illegal structures or constructions and squatting of any form within their respective barangays to the City Buildings and Architecture Office… and/or file the necessary complaint with the Anti-SSquatting and Anti-Illegal Structure Committee.” The mayor said in the revitalization of the city’s anti-squatting campaign, the barangays’ involvement and contribution had been observed to be wanting.

He said the campaign has been gaining headway in rounding up illegal structures and constructions in the watersheds and in the different barangays but these gains were achieved mostly through the effort of the city government offices, the Baguio City Police Office and private individuals. “Of the total number of the reports received, siguro 3 percent lang ang galing sa barangays,” he lamented.

He said the barangay officials are “very much aware of these incidents yet they would rather keep silent and this is hurting our campaign.” “Barangays should realize how crucial their role is in solving this perennial problem on squatting. They have to step up if they care about the future of their city and constituents. If they don’t, then they will have to face the consequences of their
inaction,” the mayor said.

Aileen P. Refuerzo/PIO

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