Councilors approve Bowl rehab bid conditions-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
BY AN 8-4 vote, councilors approved Monday the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the development of the Baguio Athletic Bowl.
Among the council members who voted for the approval of the TOR were Councilors Philian Weygan-Allan, Richard Cariño, Nicasio Aliping, Nicasio Palaganas, Joel Alangsab, Elmer Datuin, Fred Bagbagen and Erdolfo Balajadia.
Those who opposed its passage were Councilors Isabelo Cosalan, Peter Fianza, Edison Bilog and Karminn Yangot.
Councilors Perlita Chan-Rondez and Betty Lourdes Tabanda, despite being present in the earlier part of the regular session, were not around during the voting process.
Committee on laws chairman Richard Cariño said the development of the Baguio Athletic Bowl has long been overdue in its 40 years of use by the city for its special events and gatherings.
The councilor said the process for its development will be done through bidding only after a rigorous process of passing through several channels, including the Regional Development Council, Investment Committee and the National Economic Development Authority, among many other agencies and the City Development Council.
Councilors in the past sessions also included provisions to safeguard the city ownership of the facility, including an insertion to include the conduct of a public consultation, and that no fees will be collected from city residents for use of the facility.
Cariño denied there were anomalies in the approval of the TOR.
This was also seconded by Councilor Philian Weygan-Allan, who claimed the previous privilege speech by Councilor Edison Bilog was done prior to the discussions of councilors in their regular session, which overstepped whatever actions members may also provide in the TOR to protect the public interest.
Councilor Elmer Datuin and other council members also panned Bilog’s privilege speech, claiming it also insinuated they have been allegedly bribed into approving the TOR despite not being discussed yet in the session.
Datuin also questioned Bilog in their previous session as to why allegations he floated over social networking site Facebook that he was allegedly bribed by city tourism officer Benny Alhambra to approve the TOR were not included in his privilege speech.
Bilog only identified Alhambra after the previous session when he was forced by other local legislators to identify the city official who allegedly tried to bribe him and forced to file a case against the tourism officer.
After being advised by other members during session to file a case against Alhambra, he only filed a case of corruption of public official a month after the incident happened.
Alhambra, meanwhile, said allegations hurled against him are untrue and said he will file counter charges of libel and for the disbarment of Bilog for what he claims as unfounded allegations against him.
As chairman of the committee on laws tasked to scrutinize the TOR, Cariño said they provided for any investor interested in developing the Athletic Bowl to pass another round of approval by the council prior to the signing of the contract by the executive department.
He added their approval of the TOR can never be a “done deal” as it only lays the ground for the process of bidding out the facility to an investor.
Approving the TOR, he said, does not mean they are already approving any development or contract that will be entered into by the city.
Councilor Peter Fianza, meanwhile, asked prior to the approval of the TOR on what Burnham Park master plan the city is following in the proposed Athletic Bowl development.
Fianza said the city has not yet approved the master plan created by the University of the Cordilleras as it does not include the proposed development area at the Athletic Bowl and Old City Auditorium, as the City Government is still referring developments on the Burnham master plan provided by then architect Ignacio Estipona.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 26, 2012.