BAGUIO

Exemption on mining ban hits snag

TWO presidential proclamations may have no legal basis, as Baguio City Representative Marquez Go confirmed that Proclamations 414 and 572, signed by former President Carlos Garcia in 1957, was not passed into law by Congress.

This came after plans of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Cordillera to ask Go to make some exemptions to his bill seeking to declare the city a mining-free zone in response to the growing geohazards and environmental threats within the Summer Capital.

Both proclamations exclude the operation of the resolutions of the Philippine Commission dated January 25, 1907 and August 30, 1916, and opening to disposition under the provisions of Commonwealth Act 137, as amended, a parcel of land situated within the Baguio Townsite Reservation.

"I looked at the archives of Congress pertaining to Proclamation 414 which is the basis of MGB and Proclamation 572 which indicates that these two proclamations will only take effect upon approval or concurrence of Congress. Upon looking at the archives of Congress however, there were no laws passed by Congress concurring with the President's Proclamation 414 and 572, so theoretically, there is no law or proclamation regarding this matter," Go said.

Baguio City, based on the two proclamations, has two mineral reservations, excluding them from the Baguio Townsite Reservation -- a 380-hectare area in Barangays Laokan, Apugan, Atok Trail and Kias under Proclamation 414 s. 1957, and 159 hectares of land covering Barangays Mines View and Lucban through Proclamation 572 s. 1959.

"I might have missed but as of today, the two proclamations requiring the concurrence of Congress to take effect is not present in the archives of Congress. What we did is that once our bill is approved, automatically, Proclamations 414 and 572 are appealed but we will ask Malacanang if there was a confirmation or concurrence of Congress through a resolution or bill approved by both houses which would have returned to the President for signing," Go said.

But he said he is open to the request of the MGB for the possible exclusion of some areas identified under the two proclamations following an explanation in their committee at the lower house.

"We will invite Director Faye Apil in our committee on natural resources for her to explain what her offices request are and she might probably be reasonable and we may consider this but for the meantime, this is the bill that we have filed because this is the request of the City and what is good here is, although I took this as a personal move, the City is also doing a parallel move," Go added.


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