March 25, 2012 in Baguio City
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Members of the City Council during their regular session passed a resolution endorsing House Bill No. 3759 which aims to change the City Charter.
This is in response to the suggestion of Senate Committee on Local Government Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos. Marcos told City Mayor Domogan in a recent senate hearing to seek for support of the members of the council to strengthen the proposal.
The said bill which Domogan filed during his term as member of the House Representatives but failed to be passed seeks the revision of the Charter of the City of Baguio.
Incumbent Baguio Congressman Bernardo Vergara drafted the bill copying the exact contents of Domogan’s earlier version. This is the third attempt to amend the charter.
The original City Charter was written by Justice George Malcolm in 1909. It remains unchanged even when the1935 Philippine Constitution was adopted.
Included in the proposal is that the alienable and disposable public lands in the city known as the Baguio Townsite Reservation be titled in its name so that it can exert its power and authority to implement its approved land use and development plan; the issue of ownership over said townsite reservationS be speedily settled in favor of qualified occupants/applicants which will likewise address the problems of squatting.
In the proposed charter, the said townsite reservation is titled in the name of the city and after segregating those portions for public needs, the remaining areas which are safe for residential lots using the model of QM and South Sanitary Camp subdivisions be transferred for reasonable consideration to the actual occupants and/or qualified applicants; the revenues of the city be tremendously increased.
From the moment the issue of ownership over the said townsite reservation had been settled in favor of the actual occupants and/or qualified applicants, they can now pay the city government the reasonable price of the said land, apply for the necessary building permits which will require them to pay the said building permit fees, and more importantly, they will now pay real estate taxes.
The bill is also seeking for the institutionalization of the payment of the national government of its contribution to the administrative expenses of the city of Baguio pursuant to the provision of Republic Act No. 4708. RA 4708 is an act amending subsection (a) of section two thousand five hundred and fifty-three of the revised administrative code.
Stated in the Subsection (a) Sec. 2553 describing the City Council, its powers as : “To make all appropriations for the expenses of government of the city, and establish and fix therein the salaries of the city officers and employees, except teachers in the public schools, subject to approval by the Department Head.
Domogan claims that the revision will contribute to the improvement of the restructuring and reorganization of the offices of the city government with the creation of valid positions relevant to the present and future needs of Baguio.
However, Igorot elders in the city noted that the proposed charter draft does not recognize the ancestral domain and land rights of the indigenous peoples of Baguio as provided for by the United Nations Declaration for the rights of Indigenous Peoples or the Doctrine of Native title. # nordis.net