Construction of Sagada town building above cave stopped

>> Monday, December 24, 2018

By Gina Dizon

SAGADA, Mountain Province -- Opposition of people from Barangay Taccong here on construction of a multipurpose building due to questionable issues led to stoppage of work on a P40 million project.
             This, following a request for suspension from District Engineer Charles Castaneda of the Mountain Province District Engineering Office issued Dec. 4 citing right- of- way problems prohibiting contractor Gacoscos Construction from pursuing work.
Said request was forwarded to the office of the Dept. of Public Works and Highways regional director for approval.   
A meeting among the officials of Taccong, representatives from MPDEO and Dept. of Environment and Natural resources facilitated by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples two weeks ago called for suspension of work of said project pending completion of requirements namely building permit, Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from DENR and the conduct of free prior and informed consent (FPIC) by NCIP.
              Legal counsel Atanacio Addog of NCIP said the FPIC process shall be conducted as soon as requirements are completed by January next year.
The ECC Is still being done by the DENR.
People of Taccong in their statement forwarded to NCIP, DENR and DPWH claimed Balangagan Cave located below project site was endangered with construction of said building.  
Although officials of nearby Suyo said otherwise in their statement.
Suyo and Taccong have a pending boundary dispute on location of site construction.
A project under the Local infrastructure Project (LIP) of the regular funds of DPWH, the multipurpose building was an initiative of then Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Dalog who proposed said project in Congress in 2017 and eventually approved for 2018 funding.
Said initiative stemmed from a proposal of the Association of Southern Sagada Environmental Tourist Guides (ASSET-G) asking Dalog for the allocation of funds for the construction of a cultural, sports and tourism center at Balangagan, Taccong, Sagada in March 2017.
Although a member of ASSET-G publicly reportedly claimed on Facebook the organization knew nothing of said project and that their organization was used.
Asked if project can be relocated, Project Engineer Samuel Maskay of MPDEO said project can be transferred to any part of Suyo because it is where the project location is indicated.
Although Kagawad Matthias Dacmeg of Taccong said, should the project been subjected for consultation, then they could have suggested a different location in our barangay.
            Gacoscos Construction already availed of the 15 % mobilization fund on initial construction of said P40 million project having finished 40% of the work.  


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