A BAGUIO City Councilor passed a resolution in support to a media group’s appeal to preserve their office in the historic Cordillera House at Lualhati village instead of converting it into another structure.
Malacanang earlier has given the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) until the end of the month to vacate the historic house after the assessment of a team from the Office of the President revealed that “the structure of the guest house is weak and dilapidated and needs major refurbishment.”
The area, once vacated by PIA, will be converted to a cottage for Justol to have easy access to the Mansion House to be able to hold meetings.
Councilor Arthur Allad-iw pitched his support for PIA’s continued stay at Cordillera House.
Allad-iw said media organizations and practitioners, have considered the Cordillera House, including the Dap-ay, not only as a heritage area, but also a historical landmark where they utilize different activities in the advancement of press freedom and their primary role of bringing information to the residents of the city, the region and the nation.
The call of Allad-iw was backed by the entire council in a show of solidarity with the media and the PIA. The resolution will be forwarded to President Rodrigo Duterte to consider, as well to Justol, for her to reconsider her earlier decision.
Kathleen Okubo, chairperson of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines Baguio-Benguet has joined the call to preserve the area.
“We, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines–Baguio-Benguet, for all its historical significance and usefulness to the local journalism and propaganda profession, and to the public, plead with the Office of the President to retain the former Lualhati Cottage as the official residence and hub of the Philippine Information Agency. We request that it be retained and maintained as center for our window to government and for the public as well,” the statement said.
It was in 2005, under then President Fidel Ramos, with the re-organization of the national line agencies in the Cordillera when a decision to renovate and make use of the then Lualhati Cottage, which was the cottage for the Minister of Information, to house the offices of the then being re-organized PIA, and also to save from expensive rent, and maximize the use of neglected or empty government buildings.
It has since served as the PIA-Cordillera official residence.
“PIA-CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region) office has served more than just an office accessible to its clientele in CAR but also to Northern and Central Luzon. It did not only serve the different administrations very well but also it has been the government liaison to the media, both local and national press and to the Local Government Units and even other line agencies,” Okubo said. (MEC)