BAGUIO CITY – Despite threats from the city government of being sued, the state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said segregation of remaining 13 barangays in the John Hay Reservation Area (JHRA) is ongoing and being implemented consistent with its charter under Republic 7227.
BCDA president and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova bared this amidst threats from Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan to file a case for specific performance against BCDA for breach of “conditionalities” set under Resolution No. 362, series of 1994.
The conditions were set by the city government for management of the former American military rest and recreation camp after this was turned over by the American government to the Philippines.
“Rather than criticize the BCDA,” Casanova urged the city mayor “to support the BCDA in its bid to collect public funds amounting to some P3.4 billion in rental arrears from delinquent lessee Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevco), in which the City of Baguio stands to receive 25 percent or P850 million.”
Domogan earlier reacted to an advertisement published in a local paper by the BCDA airing the same allegations.
The mayor’s responses, along with Rep. Nicasio Aliping Jr., saying among others that the BCDA did not remit rentals of Camp John Hay to the city government, establishments inside CJH were not paying business taxes to the city on instigation of BCDA officials, water supply of barangays within and near John Hay were in danger of being taken over by the BCDA as the latter applied with the National Water Resources Board for water rights, BCDA was segregating barangays without consulting the city government, among others.
In a press statement Friday, Casanova said, “BCDA is currently undertaking segregation of the remaining 13 barangays, by parcel, and the mayor should concentrate on collecting what is due to Baguio City from the Sobrepena-led CJHDevCo.”
He said that P850 million due to Baguio City can be used for various infrastructure and social services programs and projects such as the construction of 31 3-storey, 9-classroom buildings at P27 million each or more than one million doses of measles vaccine or the upgrading of hospital equipment that will benefit the entire Baguio City community.
“Baguio City can help solve its garbage problem with their P850 million share,” Casanova added.
Casanova assured the Baguio community that BCDA is sincere in its efforts to segregate the parcels of land to qualified beneficiaries, which include Country Club Village, Upper Dagsian, Lower Dagsian, Sta. Escolastica, Hillside, Happy Hollow, Green Water, LoakanApugan, Loakan Proper, Camp 7, LoakanLiwanang, Lucnab and Outlook Drive.
“We also call on the local government to focus its efforts in curbing professional squatting in these barangays to protect the legitimate beneficiaries against corrupt individuals who are exploiting and engaging in professional squatting,” Casanova said.
The BCDA chief executive said the government agency is “taking the fastest way legally possible for the qualified beneficiaries to get their titles.”
He said only a presidential proclamation can finalize the segregation process, which serves as the basis of awarding the land to qualified beneficiaries.
An inter-agency technical working group for barangay segregation composed of BCDA, JHMC, Baguio City government, National Commission on Indigenous People, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, National Housing Authority, and the Barangay Chairmen of the 13 affected barangay has completed the relocation and structural survey and utility survey of all 13 barangays.
The surveys allowed BCDA and John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC) —its management arm in the JHSEZ and JHRA—to establish the metes and bounds of each barangay due for segregation.
Casanova said despite the challenges, BCDA and JHMC were able to finish the survey in view of complying with its mandate under RA 7227.
To date, Barangay Scout Barrio has already been segregated and awarded to qualified residents in 2005.
CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet – A ranking New People's Army leader of the Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Party Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) with P5.8 million bounty was arrested Tuesday at Landheights Subdivision, Barangay Buntatala, Jaro, Iloilo City around 9:45 a.m. of August 5.
Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez identified the arrested NPA leader as Eduardo Almores Esteban alias Bonnie/ Benny/Pilo, 60, Secretary of Ilocos Cordillera Regional Committee (ICRC), who was listed as most wanted man second quarter of 2014 in the region.
Esteban was nabbed for murder through joint operations of the Police Regional Office Cordillera, personnel of the Military Intelligence Group (MIG1), ISAFP, Regional Intelligence Unit 6 and 14 (RIU-6 & RIU-14) by virtue of a Warrant of Arrest issued by Judge Corpuz B.Alzate of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 2, in Bangued, Abra.
Nerez said Esteban also has warrants of arrest for frustrated murder; rebellion and two counts of murder which were all issued by the RTC, Branch 23, of Candon City, Ilocos Sur.
Esteban is now under the custody of regional police office here for turnover to concerned courts.
ILAGAN CITY, – Police are still looking into identity of assassins who shot dead a former village chairman turned leader of an anti-illegal logging task force he was manning a checkpoint in Ilagan City.
Alfredo Ilayat was found with several gunshot wounds in the body several meters away from the checkpoint, said city police director Supt. Vicente Valdez.
Investigators recovered the victim’s 12-gauge shotgun beside him.
Ilayat, a former head of Barangay Cabisera here was leader of an anti-illegal logging task force created by Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy III.
Valdez said Ilayat was alone at the checkpoint in Barangay Villa Imelda as his companions were conducting an operation at a nearby village when the attack occurred.
The victim’s family expressed the belief the killing was work-related.
LAGAWE, Ifugao -- Mayors of six towns of this province recently agreed to undertake a clustered sanitary garbage landfill project that will commonly benefit them.
Mayors Ceasario Cabbigat of this town, Joselito Guyguyon of Kiangan, Mariano Buyagawan, Lamut; Gerardo Luglug, Hingyon; Armando Domilod, Asipulo and Jerry Dalipog of Banaue signed the agreement. This, because they realized establishment, operation and management of a sanitary landfill would require massive financial requirement which may not be practical or affordable for many poorer municipalities.
The mayors agreed the project would achieve their solid waste management with less money considering they could use credit financing for the project.
The six municipalities are near each other and share common resources.
As initial endeavor, they agreed to form themselves into a “cluster for solid waste management and consolidate efforts for a project feasibility study.
An amount of P200,000 from each member LGU shall be collected as initial contribution for the study. -- Daniel Codamon
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. and three other elected family members on Monday bolted the Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC), citing differences in opinion and priorities.
Mayor Amadeo Espino and Junel Anthony Espino of Bautista and Bugallon towns, along with the governor’s son, Board Member Amado “Pogi” Espino III, likewise, resigned from the NPC.
The younger Espino earlier announced his plan to replace his father as provincial governor in the 2016 elections and will be challenged by former Rep. Mark Cojuangco, son of NPC founder and chairman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco.
“As elected leader of the entire province of Pangasinan, the undersigned Governor finds it grossly improper, and totally out of place, to announce political preferences, or to actively take part in any partisan activity, at this point in time when the next elections, in May 2016, are still a long way to go,” Gov. Espino said.
Eight provincial board members earlier pledged their support for the younger Espino’s gubernatorial bid.
The Manifestation for Commitment for Unqualified and Voluntary Support was signed by Board members Alfonso Bince Jr., Raul P. Sison, Liberato Villegas, Nestor D. Reyes, Danilo. Uy, Generoso D. Tulagan Jr., Sheila Marie P. Galicia and Angel M. Baniqued Jr.
Cojuangco, who had announced his gubernatorial bid in February this year, has been courting the support of mayors and local leaders.
More than a week ago, nine mayors from the province’s first district declared their support for him.
BM “Pogi’’ Espino who is also the provincial federation of the Liga ng mga Barangay said, “It is still early for politics, ‘matagal pa ang eleksyon’, let’s all buckle down to work first.”
By Ramon Dacawi
The city’s activities marking Baguio’s 105th charter anniversary was launched Monday after flag-raising ceremony here in front of city hall.
City councilor Elmer Datuin, co-chair of the celebration, and city tourism officer Alhambra said final program of activities will be formally announced during the regular weekly “Kapihan with CARE” on August 14 at the city hall, following the return of city mayor Mauricio Domogan who left for the United states last July 3 to represent the city in its renewal of sisterhood ties with Vallejo, California.
“We hope by then to also be able to announce who will be our guest of honor and speaker during the traditional program at the Baguio Convention Center,” Datuin said.
Highlight of the ceremonies will be the conferment of awards to this year’s winners in the annual search for the “Outstanding Citizens of Baguio” in recognition of their contributions to the development of this upland resort founded by the American colonial fathers on September 1, 1909.
The search is being undertaken by the organization of former winners of the city’s highest award under the Society of Outstanding Citizens of Baguio (SOCOB) founded by educator and civic leader Reinaldo Bautista Sr.
This year’s observance has taken on a humanitarian dimension with a medical mission to open the festivities and a foot race for a cause dubbed “Straight into Baguio’s Heart on September 28 to raise funds in support of dialysis patients being treated here and in Benguet.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the run will, “indeed, sets a tradition and culture of caring that will mark future celebrations of the Charter Anniversary of Baguio, thereby serving as a rallying point to sustain n a sense of community among this city’s residents, neighbors. Friends and visitors who treasure fond memories of their visits to the Summer Capital of the Philippines”.
The traditional parade will follow the awards ceremony and program at the Baguio Convention Center, this time without the historical motif that marked previous celebrations given the limited time for the schools to prepare their depictions of the stages in the city’s history.
Also on tap are the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio Week which will feature culinary arts accenting on the city’s importance as a major tourism destination of the country, the annual search for “Miss Baguio”, the Baguio Day Golf Tournament and other sports events.
Civic leader Moises Cating earlier called on his peers in the business industry to contribute their time and resources for a fruitful observance.
As revealed by tourism officer Alhambra, the city’s budget for the celebration totals only P500,000, or P1 million short of the one allotted for last year’s founding anniversary festivities.
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – A fruit virus is threatening this province’s citrus industry.
Hundreds of hectares of farms planted with various citrus species were infested with the deadly “huang long bing” disease, according to Eriño Basadre Jr., agriculturist of Kasibu town where the bulk of citrus production in the province comes from.
Basadre said the “huang long bing,” a viral fruit disease also known as citrus greening disease, can destroy ready-to-harvest citrus fruit.
Affected plants, reports said, have yellowed leaves and discolored, deformed fruit. These plants will die unless properly treated, he said.
Citrus growers expressed fears that the continued spread of the disease could lead to the death of the industry in the province, dubbed the region’s citrus capital.
Reports showed at least 2,000 hectares of citrus plantations were affected since the infestation started.
The province, reports said, could only expect citrus production from around 500 hectares this harvest season.
“Our production was downed by 50 percent as compared to five years ago because of this problem,” said Kasibu Mayor Alberto Bumolo Jr.
Some citrus farmers, Bumolo said, shifted to other crops as maintaining citrus plantations has become difficult and costly.
He said experts from the Bureau of Plant Industry have been trying to contain the disease.
“This has been a problem we are facing. Before we used to harvest thousands of tons of citrus, which enabled us to link with various markets, including the National Capital Region,” Bumolo said.
The mayor said they were already establishing a market abroad when the disease started to surface about five years ago.