The Re-greening Movement and Baguio’s Classroom in the Forest (2nd of a series)-A A +A
By Art Tibaldo
Monday, September 30, 2013
THE Baguio Regreening Movement (BRM) since the time it was formed and organized as a result of the NGO Congress of 1991 continues to find ways and implement measures for the protection of the remaining forest covers of the city. Following are the matters that arose during the last monthly meeting that I attended at the Kalapaw Restaurant presided by former City Prosecutor and Councilor Erdolfo Balajadia.
The meeting was called to order by Atty. Erdolfo Balajadia, BRM Chairperson at 12:05 in the afternoon. Mr. Banatao led the opening prayer. Atty. Balajadia acknowledge new comers to the BRM meeting such as Gen. Roberto Soriano of PRO-COR, Dr. Onie Aguinalde of the University of Cordilleras, Eng’r. Salvador Royeca, GM of Baguio Water District, Mr. Andrew Pinero and Ms. Nail Cardozo of the Baguio Country Club, Ms. Almaya Addawe and Mr. Sydney Moresto, Jr. of the City Assessor’s Office and Mr. Ed Morales of HLURB-CAR. Atty. Balajadia likewise thanked everyone for coming to the meeting.
After the minutes of the previous meeting has been approved and corrections were made, the following transpired; Balajadia asked an update on the inventory and cutting of dead trees within the city and Aguirre of the CEPMO responded that out of the 100 dead trees identified in the barangays only those in public lands were cut because of the limited resources and those in private areas owners were encouraged to request for permit to cut. Balajadia advised CEPMO to set a deadline for the cutting of the dead trees because these trees poses danger to lives and properties especially in times of calamities.
In addition, Goze said that in the cutting of the dead trees there should be replacement planting of ten (10) seedlings for every tree cut and that CEPMO should identify the planting areas likewise together with DENR and BRM provide the needed seedlings for replacement.
Balajadia requested CEPMO to prepare and submit report in the next BRM meeting on the inventory and cutting of dead trees including the areas for replacement planting.
On the nursery at Busol forest reserve, Balajadia urged CEPMO to utilize the area as nursery so that the effort of fencing and establishing the area as such will not go to waste. The seedlings that were placed there by the BRM were neglected and died but despite of this Balajadia said that the BRM will continue to support the project and h even asked the assistance of the Mayor for the maintenance of the nursery.
On the proposed environment code of the city, Balajadia informed the group that the draft of the environment code is now with the City Council and Councilor Bagbagen said that it is set for public hearing on the third week of October and he hope he said that this will push through.
On the donation of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB) to the BRM, Mr. Pinero of the HRAB handed over a donation/check worth P50,000 to Atty. Balajadia who likewise handed it to Ms. Muyano of the BRM Secretariat for deposit which will be use for the BRM’s projects. Pinero said this will be on a yearly basis but the amount may vary. Balajadia thanked the HRAB for the donation and likewise encouraged other groups to do the same also.
Councilor Yangot appreciated the HRAB for the donation and challenged other utilities/groups to do the same. He mentioned the BENECO, BWD, SUN, SMART, GLOBE, PEZA, TI, PLDT, JHMC, and other groups to contribute also for the protection of Busol forest reserve/watershed and other watersheds in the City.
Councilor Yangot added there is an issue on the granting of amnesty for water and electric connections for residents in the City. He said that before election time most often the City granted amnesty and now it is again requested and this was referred to the CBAO and the latter said that maybe just for one month only. Most members opposed the granting of amnesty especially in Busol watershed and in other watershed/critical areas. BWD thru Mr. Royeca manifested their appropriate opposition to water connections within watershed areas.
BWD and BENECO should evaluate all applications for connections and when they fall on watershed areas these should be carefully look into and deny connections. A BRM resolution not to give amnesty to residents for water and electric connections in Busol watershed and other watersheds was unanimously adopted.
On the fund raising activity for the fencing of Busol and other watersheds, the BRM in relation to the suggestion of Councilor Yangot to raise funds for the protection cum fencing of Busol and other watersheds in the City, Atty. Balajadia suggested that a committee be formed and members will be chosen or maybe some can volunteer.
Balajadia informed the group that the Baguio Water District thru its Board has allotted P3million plus P150,000 from Engineer Felino Lagman plus another P150,000 from his friends plus the P200,000 he allotted from his PDF when he was still a Councilor, so all in all its P3.5 million as initial fund for the fencing of Busol and this is not enough. The following were the suggestions on how to raise funds: Solicit from those mentioned earlier, those big companies from their CSR funds (BRM resolution was unanimously adopted), Solicit from the barangays drawing water from Busol watershed. Dr. Lonarda Aguinalde suggested that students will give also P1 from their allowance but a short video be prepared be media partners to entice students to give their share and this will be done in all schools (BRM resolution to be adopted for this). Mr. Panganiban suggested that under public consumers contribution maybe on water and electric bills, a one-time P10 for each bill will be collected and for example if there are 300,000 members times P10 then that would be about P3million.
Mr. Modesto Agyao of PEZA said that their CSR of P200,000 for this year has been allotted for Camp 8 watershed so maybe next year their CSR can be added for the fencing of Busol.
On the titled issued in some portions of busol watershed, Balajadia informed the group that 22 titles has been issued for some portions of Busol which are located in the middle of Busol watershed Baguio Side. These titles he said are spurious as they did not pass the legal process, they were formerly under 211 and were not validated but registered with the ROD, so these titles from the beginning are null and void.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 01, 2013.