Illegal structures in forest reserves set for demolition

>> Friday, March 27, 2015

254 Baguio houses identified; Baguio mayor orders probe
By Paul Rillorta

BAGUIO CITY – The city government is set to demolish illegal constructions like houses over forest reservations here like Animal Industry Forest Reservation. 

The mayor said the city will protect remaining watersheds and forest reservations within the city as part of its campaign against squatting. 

Reports of massive squatting within the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Animal Industry resurfaced anew prompting the mayor to order an immediate investigation and action. 

“There are already initial reports that structures have resurfaced in the area without the required building permit. We would not allow this, we have no choice but to issue demolition orders for these structures,” he said. 

Domogan said a full investigation on this rampant construction along Marcos Highway is underway with full support of Tuba Mayor Florencio Bentres with parts of Tuba also affected. 

As per initial findings, there are 254 illegal constructions subject for demolition and could reach 400. 

Domogan said,” the actual number of illegal structures could not be determined yet but the bulk of which is situated within the Baguio side.” 

“We will determine the actual number when the investigation is done and the city government will spearhead the demolition of these structures after the issuance of the required notices of demolition orders to the identified owners,” he said. 

The City Legal Office, the City Building officials, the Public Order and Safety Division and the City Anti-Squatting Committee will conduct the necessary inventory of the structures built in the area without the required building permits. 

Ongoing construction will be subjected to demolition. 

The mayor also warned prospective buyers of lots in the area to verify first the status of the lots they intend to buy in order not to be victimized by fraudulent persons.   

“The Bureau of Animal Industry is a forest reservation and should remain protected,” Domogan said.


Opening of Sagada-Manila bus route hit; protest filed

By Gina Dizon

SAGADA, Mountain Province – A company is set to start trips to this tourist town from Manila and vice versa I time for the lenten season and summer but jeepney drivers here said passengers should embark in the capital town of Bontoc so they will ride their jeeps when they go to Sagada. 

Trips from Manila were stopped months ago after a bus fell down a ravine in the capital town of Bontoc this province wherein scores of people died. 

This, time, for passengers going to Manila from Sagada and  vice versa via the   Bontoc-Banaue route, CODA bus lines will offer  afternoon trips at 2:30 p.m. from Sagada to Manila and an 8 a.m. trip from  Manila to Sagada.

In Baguio City, Mountain Province Rep. MaximoDalog affirmed this saying resumption of trips would benefit the province in terms of tourism growth.  

He said this was timely considering that the Lang-ay Festival in the capital town of Bontoc would start April 10 to coincide with celebration of the province’s foundation anniversary.   

Protest however was lodged by Sagada Operators and Drivers Association (at the Land Franchising and Regulatory Board against CODA’s covered trip to Sagada citing economic dislocation.

SODA wants CODA’s Manila to Sagada and vice versa  trips have their loading and unloading of passengers in Bontoc and not in Sagada.

SODA’s petition signed by its members and some 200 residents of Sagada reached the regional LTFRB.

It was learned that said petition was forwarded to LTFRB central office.

SODA with some 40 driver-operator members have been plying the  Sagada-Bontoc  route for years  from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. and  Bontoc-Sagada from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

CODA lines Corp. (formerly KMS) is set to start trips from Manila to Sagada  at 8 p.m., Manila to Bontoc at 8:30 p.m., Manila to Ifugao at 8:30 p.m., Sagada to Manila at 2:30 p.m., Bontoc  to Manila at 3:30, Ifugao to Manila at 6 p.m., Baguio to Maddela at 8:30 p.m., Baguio to Kiangan at 9 p.m., Baguio to Banaue  at 9:30 p.m., Maddela to Baguio at 4 p.m., Kiangan to Baguio at 7 p.m. and Banaue to Baguio at 6 p.m.

Coda lines’ trip schedules  intends  to open April this year. 


Senate probe pushed on P’sinan black sand mining

ROSALES, Pangasinan – Stakeholders in agriculture are seeking a Senate inquiry on the alleged failure of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to stop illegal black sand mining in Lingayen, Pangasinan.
Members of the SamahangIndustriyangAgrikultura (SINAG), an umbrella group of agriculture stakeholders, said they would seek the help of Sen. Loren Legarda on the matter. 

SINAG president RosendoSo said the illegal activity started in 2011 and the pieces of equipment used to quarry and haul magnetite are still in Barangay Malimpuec in Lingayen.  

“The stockpile of black sand is also there. How come the DENR has not yet confiscated these? We want to know if the DENR has any liability,” So said. 

He said the agency should demolish the wall surrounding the proposed 18-hole golf course area, where the illegal activity is reportedly taking place. 

He said the DENR should check the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) it issued for a golf course project in 2013. 

 “That wall is not covered by the ECC for the golf course project. It also does not have any mayor’s permit.  

But the DENR has yet to demolish it,” So said.


March 28 concert set for 14 slain Cordi SAF heroes

By Ramon Dacawi

BAGUIO CITY -- Cordillera journalists and police officers have taken the cue from  Paul Simon’s “He Was My Brother” song lyrics  to jointly mount a concert-for-a-cause on March 28 at the University of Baguio gym in honor of the 44 members of the Special Action Force who were killed last January 25 in Malasapano, Maguindano.
 Newscaster Dhobie de Guzman of  ABS-CBN, as the president of the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club, and Chief Supt. IsaganiNerez. police regional director, called on the community to support the two-hour folk and country music treat, proceeds of which will be distributed  equally to the orphaned families of the 14 members of the SAF who were slain in the massacre. 

 “Like us, many other Cordillerans feel for the families of the 44 SAF members, especially for the kin of the 14 police officers from the Cordillera, in the same token that our region loves folk and country music,” Nerez said.  

“The rendition of folk and country by our musical talents here will surely help in our healing and at the same time help the closest of kin of our brave soldiers in coping with the tragedy.” 

 De Guzman said the musical was inspired by the culture of sharing that pioneer folk and country musicians here launched in the ‘70s, when they started using their gift to reach out to indigent patients through concerts. 

Senior Supt. Jimmy Catanes, head of the regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group said the musical show is supported by the Philippine National Police Academy Alumni Association-Cordillera, Baguio-Cordillera Folk and Country Musicians, in partnership with the University of Baguio. 

 “We are supporting this because we are one community, and  more so because many of our present crop of police officers studied at the University of Baguio,”    said former city mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr., a university official and president of Sun-Star Baguio Daily. 

Among those invited to perform are pioneer concert-for-a-cause mainstays the likes of lawyer Jose “Bubut” Olarte, journalists March Fianza and Alfred Dizon, businessman Sammy Comiles, lead guitarist ArsenMarzan, soloists Alma Angiwan, Liza Noble, Kenneth and Zeny, the Seldom Seen Band, Slow Speed Band, Paul Cuyopan, La Trinidad administrative officer  and The Edralins. 

Together with expat soloists Conrad Marzan and Mhia Tibunsay, most of these artists performed last March 1 in “Down Memory Lane”, a reunion concert of the Foggy Mountain Band that raised some P50,000 for Quakelyn Lisayen, a 24-year old girl stricken with kidney failure who is struggling towards an organ transplant. 

 The girl received last Thursday a P10,000 support from the Regional PNP through Chief Supt. Nerez. 

It was the latest contribution towards a fund drive mounted by a committee led by former city prosecutor Gloria Agunos to raise P640,000 for the transplant.  

Earlier, Baguio Rep. NicasioAliping Jr. set aside P200,000 from his Priority Development Assistance Fund to jumpstart the fund drive for the girl. His elder brother, Bob, a retired U.S. Navy officer, also knocked on doors of fellow expats in the
United States. collecting $1,300 he sent for Quakelyn’s fund. 

In return, Bob delivered to them his “Booba Songs,” a collection of his folk and country compositions. 

For the March 28 concert for the fallen SAF heroes, tickets, pegged at P100 each, are available in Baguio media outlets, police stations and at the information division of the city mayor’s office.


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