Igorot Stone Kingdom closed
Due to safety and permit issues
8 November 2022 – Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong on Nov. 8, 2022 ordered the closure of the man-made tourist attraction Igorot Stone Kingdom along Long-long Road, Pinsao Proper due to permit and safety issues.
The Business Permits and Licensing Division padlocked the establishment on November 8 based on Administrative Order No. 0195, series of 2022 closing the amusement park until they have complied with the business permit requirements.
The mayor told the Management Committee meeting that the establishment is operating without a business permit while the stone structures inside are not covered by a building permit which puts the structural integrity of these constructions in question.
He said that the owner had earlier been notified of the permit violations and advised to comply with the requirements but had failed to do so.
Instead, the management ventured to build more structures against the advice of the city government and continued to defy cease and desist orders prompting the City Buildings and Architecture Office to file a criminal case for violation of the National Building Code on Nov. 7, 2022.
The mayor said the city needs to close it as a safety precaution since it is potentially dangerous due to lack of certificate ensuring safety of the structures.
“We have to be proactive. We can’t wait of something bad to happen before we act,” he said.
Based on the ongoing Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (CRVA) for Baguio City being conducted by the Asian Development Bank and the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), it was found that the structure is in a “very high landslide exposure.”
The mayor said the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau of the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (MGB-DENR) has also declared the area as “prone to erosion.”-
In a related development, he city government through City Buildings and Architecture Officer Architect Johny Degay filed four counts of criminal cases against the owners of the amusement park – Igorot Stone Kingdom located along Longlong Road, Pinsao Proper.
The CBAO filed the complaint against owners Pio Velasco and Hajji Velasco before the Office of the City Prosecutor on November 8, 2022 for constructing the Stone Kingdom without the requisite building or fencing permits which is in violation of Section 301 in relation to Section 213 of Presidential Decree 1096.
In his affidavit, Degay said respondents continue with their construction activities despite the directives to cease and desist from CBAO.
Several ocular site inspections and investigations have been conducted by personnel of the CBAO led by Engr. Maxwell Matitiw since June, August, September and October this year flagging violations of PD 1096 but construction works proceeded despite warnings.
Ocular investigations revealed that the amusement park was built with grouted stone riprap terraces; an unfinished four-storey building with roof deck made up of reinforced concrete and concrete hollow blocks; a drainage and steel bridge; stone domes with varying sizes with interior finishes made of stones with no support aside from cement grouts to prevent the stones from detaching.
CBAO investigation also revealed a 20 meters tunnel named ‘Stone Mine’ approximately two meters wide by two meters high with no support system to prevent the ceiling and the cave-ins from collapsing which poses danger to visitors.
While parking is provided at the frontage of the property, the CBAO said this is not sufficient due to the high volume of vehicles.
The amusement park – which operations was closed November 8 for safety precautions, is located within a 7,000 square meter untitled property. **PIO BAGUIO