BAGUIO City Representative Nicasio Aliping Jr. finally showed up at the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).
However, not to settle issues but to reset the scheduled technical conference set June 18.
EMB Legal Counsel Asterio Tolentino said the lawmaker appeared on June 17 to personally apologize and asked to reschedule the technical conference. The environment executive added an official letter was delivered by a staff member of the legislator in the same afternoon.
The technical conference is the venue where EMB, Aliping, and contractors BLC Construction Aggregates, Goldrich Corporation and RUA Construction and Develeopment Corp. will discuss issues concerning the road construction at Sto. Tomas, Tuba, Benguet and violations of PD 1586 or the Philippine Impact Statement System.
Specifically the issue is mainly on the absence of Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for the development in the identified Environmentally Critical Area (ECA).
In a letter addressed to EMB OIC-Regional Director Oscar Cabanayan, the Aliping sought for the resetting of the technical conference because of a sub judice rule citing the case filed against him for violation of the Presidential Decree 705 or the Forestry Code currently pending before the Benguet Provincial Prosecutors Office.
He requested resetting of the technical conference "until such time that the case has been resolved" for the reason the matters to be discussed in the meeting may have a bearing on the resolution of the mentioned pending case.
The technical conference was first scheduled June 10 through the Notice of Violation cum Cease and Desist Order issued to the representative and the alleged contractors June 2.
However, in a response dated June 5, Aliping requested for the resetting of the meeting because he have to attend the Regular Session of the House of Representatives. The meeting was then moved to June 18.
Tolentino shared although they understand the predicaments of the lawmaker, they cannot tolerate it.
"Hindi pwede na ire-schedule nalang ng ire-schedule," EMB-Clearance and Permitting Division OIC-Chief Nestor Donaal stressed adding they will try to schedule a meeting with the solon one last time second week of July.
Donaal said they will inform Aliping, through an official invitation, that with or without his presence or his representative on the next schedule of the meeting, they will have to decide and issue an order or a resolution based on the available documents and evidences.
He ended the violation of the PD 1586 could have been easier to resolve as a penalty at P50,000; and a commitment assuring mitigating measures in the affected areas will be financed and put into action by the proponent will already settle the issue.
According to Tolentino, representatives from Goldrich Consruction and BLC Construction and Aggregates went to the EMB on the scheduled time of the technical conference June 18 not knowing Aliping requested for another reset.
The cases for the violation of the PD 705 or the Philippine Forestry Code were filed June 6, a day after Aliping first requested for a reset of the technical conference.