By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The city government is eyeing the development of the BIBAK lot along Harrison road into a temporary pay parking area to address the needs of tourists and residents.
This was bared by Mayor Mauricio Domogan during his weekly afternoon media conference on Mar 12 who pointed out that the area has remained idle after it was cleared of illegal settlers and structure in October 2017.
“Considering that the technical working group is still discussing the master plan for the development of the BIBAK lot, and the area is idle at the moment, why don’t we use it as a temporary parking area,” he said.
The technical working group is composed of the city government, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP). They are tasked to come up with a development plan and guidelines for the use of the lot.
Domogan said the funds to be generated will be used for the upkeep of the temporary pay parking.
“It has to be a pay parking because we will need money for the maintenance,” he said.
A “one stop shop” for all government agencies who does not have their own offices can also be considered in the development of the area according to the mayor. He said several government agencies have expressed intent to build their regional offices at the property that includes the Bureau of Fire Prevention (BFP) Cordillera.
“But the master plan will take some time to develop and the funds for the development of the area will even take longer to acquire, so while we wait for these to be realized, we could put the lot into use,” he told the media.
The mayor said he already wrote the DENR and NCIP to request for the use of the area. The city engineering office will take charge of the development of the area if the DENR and NCIP will allow it.
The DENR and NCIP has yet to respond to the mayor’s request.
In 2017, the 5,000 square meter land was finally cleared of more than 50 illegal structures after several demolition postponements. The government segregated the property and used to host dormitories to serve Igorot students who had to leave their villages to study in Baguio universities in the 1960s and 1970s.
BIBAK is an acronym for—Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc (the capital town of Mt. Province), Apayao and Kalinga, the subprovinces of the original Mountain Provinces.
Another building, which served as the session hall of the defunct Cordillera Regional Assembly (CRA), the legislative arm of an interim Cordillera government that was designed to prepare the region for autonomy in 1987 used to stand at the lot.
The CRA stopped using the facility when Congress allotted the body P1 budget in 2000. The hall then became the office of the Barangay Harrison-Carantes-Claudio. # nordis.net