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BAGUIO, Philippines – Four months after it giving notice that it would go after thousands of illegal structures, Baguio’s City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) said on Friday, May 12, that only around 100 building owners had applied for permits.
CBAO representatives have started a sweep of barangays DPS Compound, Cabinet Hill, Marcoville, and the area covered by Teachers’ Camp for illegal structures on titled lots.
There are currently about 96,000 illegitimate structures in the city, according to the survey conducted by city hall, making the 100 permit seekers a negligible number compared to what the local program targets for compliance.
City building official Johnny Degay said CBAO had started handing out letters to the building owners in the said barangays. They are being given 15 days to initiate the process of acquiring an appropriate building permit, and another 15 days to actually comply with the requirements to legitimize their buildings.
If they fail to apply, they will be given a notice of violation and will be charged with penalties under the National Building Code. These include fines and potential imprisonment, and possible demolition orders, said CBAO official Stephen Capuyan.
Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the city is looking to double its efforts in encouraging and enticing building owners to acquire appropriate permits. Eighty percent or nearly 96,000 buildings in the city lack proper permits.
The city government previously negotiated with the Department of Public Works and Highways to reduce the requirements for building permit applicants. The time frame for receipt of building permits has been reduced to 20 days upon application, provided all requirements are met. – Rappler.com
Angel Castillo is an Aries Rufo Journalism Fellow.