By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — “You were never welcomed in the city, are not above the law and should not act as a peace keeping force here,” Vice Mayor Daniel Fariñas reminded the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) in the city council’s regular session last June 11.
Fariñas stressed that the CPLA should refrain from assuming the duties of policemen in keeping public order and peace. “We have our peace keeping force and it is the Philippine National Police, we do not want you here,” said Fariñas. He also said that the CPLA should stop from meddling in land problems and in the demolition of houses.
Members of the city council during the said session advised John Blue, the commander of the CPLA Mailed Molina faction, to refrain from harassing the officials of Harrison-Carantes Barangay regarding the use of the Cordillera Regional Assembly (CRA) compound. Fariñas reminded the CPLA commander and his band to respect the officials especially the Barangay Captain.
The City Council summoned the CPLA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Cordillera Administrative Region (DENR-CAR) Regional Executive Director Clarence Baguilat and Harrison-Carantes Barangay officials headed by Barangay Captain Helen Medina to clarify matters regarding the status and occupancy of the CRA building. Medina complained to the city council that members of the CPLA threatened her and other Barangay officials.
The punong barangay alleged that some CPLA members threatened her by saying “kung hindi ka lang babae…” (if you are not only a lady). She said the barangay is questioning the utilization of the building particularly the renting out of some of the portions of the building.
According to Medina, the barangay occupies only one room while the CPLA occupies five rooms. The rest of the building is rented out to a computer shop, a clothing store and a church. She said that the CPLA collects all the rent.
Blue said that they are not aware of what Medina is saying. He added that it is the CPLA Mike Suguiyao Faction who rented out the building.
The said building is located at a 5,000 square meter-lot where the Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc, Apayao and Kalinga (BIBAK) dormitory once stood. According to the representative of DENR Edgar Flor, the lot is still in the name of the Republic of the Philippines and therefore it is not owned by any private entity. He added that based on their records there is no specific directive for the use and who should use the building.
In 1990, the defunct Cordillera Executive Board (CEB) constructed the BIBAK multipurpose building. The building was later turned over to the Office of the National Cultural Communities (ONCC now the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples or NCIP) but was continuously occupied by the CRA.
Councilor Joel Alangsab reminded Blue of their meeting last May 15 where they agreed that the barangay council and the CPLA usage of the building remains in status quo and the two parties should respect their co-existence. “But it seems that the CPLA is not complying with the agreement,” Alangsab added.
Fariñas said that the CPLA is illegally occupying the building. Blue pleaded before the city council that they be allowed to stay in the building while they are looking for a place to transfer to. The council has yet to make resolutions on the use of the building. # nordis.net