Missing document keeps pine stand in peril-A A +A
Thursday, December 23, 2010
THE absence of a document proving former President Gloria Arroyo's commitment to protect and preserve the GSIS tree park in Baguio City has resulted in some groups asking for a follow-up to this announcement.
Regional Development Council (RDC) Co-chairperson Virgilio Bautista said the new set of officers of the council would be following up a recently passed resolution asking President Benigno Aquino III to issue a declaration to preserve the tree park.
On August last year, the former president, in her speech at Baguio City Hall during the celebration of the city's centennial, asked former Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) general manager Winston Garcia to spare the tree park from any development plans for the GSIS property.
This act, according to Arroyo, is her gift to the city on its centenary.
City officials who heard the then-president's announcement were elated. However, some sectors suggested a written declaration as documentary proof. A document would also protect the city's interests in case new officials take over.
Bautista said the RDC is hopeful Aquino will take the same stand.
As far as Bautista is concerned, the tree park should remain and to function as the lung of the central business district," Bautista said.
He said Malacañang has not responded to the resolution and he has not heard from the GSIS as of press time.
GSIS and SM Development Corporation have signed a joint-venture agreement wherein the latter will construct four buildings for a 13-story condotel in the area.
The plan was not pursued because of public opposition.
The GSIS, however, filed for declaratory relief and questioned the City Government's zoning ordinance. The GSIS said the zoning ordinance has prevented it from pursuing a development project in a property it owns.
The petition is pending before a local court.
The GSIS tree park measures 1.4 hectares. The inventory done by SMDC shows there are 967 trees in the park, 313 of which will be cut and 105 transplanted if the plan materializes. (Rimaliza Opiña)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on December 24, 2010.