Bing comes back to the province after 20 years of staying in a foreign land. She set her expectations like breathing fresh air. Upon her arrival, busy crowd and dirty air greeted her. To her surprise, the area they used to play on during their childhood days was already occupied with houses.
The graduate study of Maria O. Amoroso, a Masters of Urban Management graduate of Benguet State University, titled “Sustainable area for Housing Development in La Trinidad”, revealed that there were several violations in the Building Code such as increasing number of doubled-up households, presence of houses in high-risk areas, houses built in environmentally sensitive areas, and presence of improvised or makeshifts housing units in the municipalit
Moreover, the high cost of land and housing materials, difficulty and expensive processing of titles and building permits, costly building/zoning permits, poverty, difficulty of transportation services, and no proper drainage system add to the issues and concerns resulting to the housing conflicts in the municipality.
“We are living with our parents for almost five years because we cannot afford to buy our own house and lot,” expressed Sara, a resident of Wangal, La Trinidad, Benguet.
It was stated in the study that doubled-up houses are prone to sanitary and hygienic problems especially if the house is not conducive for children and aged members of the family.
Another problem in LT is the presence of improvised makeshift-houses that affect the health and safety of the family while there are also some houses that are located in high-risk areas like Km. 3. Among the conditions that make an area high-risk include the presence of falling rocks.
It was also observed that some houses in the municipality violated the building and water codes such as the non-securement of building permits before constructing residential houses, and the building of houses along the Balili River and creeks.
Environmental Hazards in different barangays of LT
As identified in the study, barangays Lubas, Tawang, Puguis, Poblacion, Alapang, Balili, Bineng, Beckel, Betag, Cruz, Lubas, and Pico are considered as high risk areas. This can be attributed to their vulnerability to floods, fault lines, falling rocks, and sinkholes.
In the contrary, barangays Alno, Ambiong, and Shilan are deemed not too vulnerable to environmental hazards.
Further, fault lines can also be found in the municipality, these are Mirador, and Burnham fault line. Mirador fault line traverse through the barangays of Wangal-Puguis-Betag and is capable of producing an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 while the Burnham fault line traverses through barangays Bineng, Wangal, and Poblacion.
To prepare ourselves from the hazards, it is recommended in the study that the houses along Balili River, and illegal settlers within the watershed reservations must be relocated. Also, on the part of the local government unit, they have to raise awareness on land use and educate the public regarding environmental laws. Lastly, for the community, they have to adapt measures in flood prone areas like constructing proper drainage system.// Margaret Anne B. Litilit