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Road-right-of-way rule snags plan to build barangay hall

Saying the fifth floor long offered by the Department of Public Works and Highways is inaccessible for their community hall, barangay leaders of Cabinet Hill-Teachers Camp told the city council Monday they want to build one in a joint venture with the Rotary Club of Baguio South.
The problem, according to the city’s planning and environmental chiefs, is that the proposed site, a park long adopted by the Rotary club, is within the road-right-of way. Constructing a barangay hall-cum-Rotary office thereat – at the corner of Brent Road and Romulo Drive – would violate a law the DPWH is mandated to enforce.
Earlier, the DPWH occupied another area outside the road-right-of-way being used by the barangay as its basketball court and on it constructed a building, according to former barangay chair Tomasito Calasicas.
For converting the play area for its own use, the DPWH offered a barangay office for Cabinet Hill-Teachers Camp at the fifth floor of the building it constructed.
Problem was, according to Calasicas, the space offered could hardly be reached by the differently abled and elderly residents like him.
He and punong barangay Edward Lumasang, together with Rotary officials led by club president Anita Calabias, asked the city council’s approval of a joint venture to build the barangay hall and club office at the park Rotary adopted and named as “Paul Harris” park, after the founder of Rotary.
The city councilors were sympathetic of the plan, even as councilor Fred Bagbagen said it might not be viable, taking cue from the Four-Way Test of the international service organization. Truth is, he said, the proposed site is within the road-right-of-way.
This was confirmed by city planning and development officer Evelyn Cayat and city environment and parks management officer Cordelia Lacsamana.
The city council decided to return the issue to its committee on barangay affairs. = Ramon Dacawi.

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