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Buyog watershed mural to send strong message – stop encroachment

THE VENUE. The Buyog Watershed mural will rise just after the biking mobility mural at Legarda Road, in front of the Europa Hotel and right before the police station 5. PML

With Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong ordering the Baguio City Police Office to conduct round-the-clock patrol over Busol and Buyog watersheds to ensure that no new structure will be built within what was left of the forest reservations, he is also sought help of local artists to do a campaign to battle denudation through an art mural.

“I hope that what is depicted on the mural will remain as is,” said the mayor as he told the Sin-Agi Artists to proceed with the second Climate Action Wall along Legarda Road to start with the Buyog Watershed as subject.

Councilor Leandro Yangot, Jr. said that they are ready to start with the nine by 50 feet mural of the Buyog watershed which is fast dwindling.

“It is the message the mayor wants to send- end encroachment at Buyog,” said the artist-councilor as he asked artists Ged Alangui and Gladys Labsan to join him in the mural works right after the biking mobility mural right before the Baguio police station 5.

In fact, Yangot has called on the members of the Sim-Agi and the Baguio Educators Arts Guild to take part in the painting efforts as a campaign to end incursion in the watershed which is one of the major sources of potable water in the city.

The plan was actually hatched in December last year and will be part of the mayor’s campaign to stop incursion and reduce carbon footprint.

While the biking mobility mural was started, the Sin-Agi are also looking forward to starting the Buyog watershed mural.

The mayor has since then raised the alarm that if encroachment won’t stop, Buyog would disappear soon and replaced with concrete and galvanized iron structure.

In an earlier release, the mayor expressed his concern about Buyog watershed of which the forested area had decreased from 19 hectares to only seven hectares.

“We need to finally put an end to this decades long problem, we shall continue to take action and remove illegal settlers within our watersheds for the benefit of the people,” the mayor said.

Meanwhile, the mayor issued the order amid demolition activities at the Busol watershed where two concrete structures in the process of being built at East Bayan Park side of the reservation were dismantled by a joint team led by the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) on February 28 and March 1.

The said structures were previously covered by a temporary restraining order issued by the court preventing the city government from carrying out demolition activities which became possible after the owners’ bid to obtain a court injunction did not materialize.

Last year, the CBAO demolished three existing small structures and had begun the demolition of close to ten huge constructions in Liteng side of the Busol watershed when a TRO was issued by the court.

“Any new structure being built especially in protected areas should be immediately demolished,” the mayor who earlier issued an executive order to this effect, intoned.

The mayor was steadfast in his stance that while the city gives humanitarian consideration to the predicament of the occupants – many of whom are ancestral land claimants who claimed to be long time settlers of the forest reserve – law and order must be respected. Pigeon Lobien

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