Aliping seeks ‘fail-proof’ charter-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
BAGUIO Representative Nicasio Aliping Jr. is leaving no stone unturned in the drafting of the proposed City Charter.
Aliping, who spearheaded the consultation among various stakeholders Friday afternoon, stressed there is no rush to file revisions of the City Charter at the House of Representatives explaining a series of consultations must be conducted to come up with a "fail-proof" version of the bill.
This came after two previous versions of the bill, authored by then Baguio representatives Mauricio Domogan (now city mayor) and Bernardo Vergara, failed to pass Congress’s Committee on Local Government while the latter’s version was vetoed by President Benigno Aquino III in December 2012.
“We will include as much as possible all the suggestions and recommendations of various groups for inclusion in the draft City Charter for another round of consultations to come up with an ideal version that will be filed in Congress,” Aliping said.
Aliping added they have removed provisions which are already contained in the Local Government Code, citing the reasons of Aquino’s veto.
Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda proposed the removal of Townsite Sales Applications and instead include Miscellaneous Sales Applications and Free Patent as means of land acquisition in the bill.
Tabanda said removing TSAs no longer present the need for lands to undergo bidding.
Councilor Joel Alangsab, meanwhile, suggested for the merging of barangays which do not meet the criteria set by the Local Government Code.
However, Aliping said consultations with barangays must be done before including it into the proposed measure.
Meanwhile, Department of Environment and Natural Resources regional director Clarence Baguilat expressed his hesitation on a provision discussing the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s authority to classify lands.
Baguilat said it is only Congress which has authority to reclassify lands, particularly forest lands. He also added alieanable and diposable lands will have to be auctioned off.
The DENR official also opposed provisions on small-scale mining in the proposed City Charter adding the city’s critical ecosystem does not need the entry of a pocket mining industry. Baguilat also urged for an institutionalized city environment officer.
Dr. Julie Cabato of the Baguio Regreening Movement stressed there is a need to focus more on the City Charter provisions on environment as she stressed a separate department must be created for parks management.
Judith Maranes of the Baguio Ancestral Land Claimants group is also suggesting for the inclusion of the Indigenous people’s sectoral representative in the City Council which must come from the Ibaloi community.
She stressed other adjoining municipalities such as La Trinidad, Itogon Sablan and Tuba must also be consulted prior to the passage of the City Charter. She said inputs of the Baguio-Boracay Technical Working Group and the NCIP have to be included in the proposed bill.
Other inputs from the stakeholders consulted include the specifications and functions of existing city government departments.
Aliping emphasized suggestions of Baguio residents will be included in the general provisions of the bill so it will be short and all encompassing.
He said other stakeholders will have to be invited in the succeeding City Charter consultations including national line agencies, legal luminaries and the Bases Conversion Development Authority.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 09, 2013.