By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
BAGUIO CITY — A cause-oriented leader here urged city officials to exercise their political will and claim the city’s rightful share to the uncollected three billion pesos rent of a corporation over the Club John Hay area.
Being a hazard prone area as found by experts, she also urged the city’s leadership to use that share of the rent to introduce infra-structure projects that would control and minimize the landslides usually experienced by the city, especially during the rainy season.
Geraldine Doco, a leader of the Urban Poor sector and the multi-sectoral Tongtongan Ti Umili, pointed out that more than 700 million pesos was calculated as the rightful share of the city from the total three billion pesos rent; it should be utilized to contain landslides and hazardous areas in the city which usually affects urban poor communities most.
In data acquired by Nordis from the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau, Baguio City and Benguet and all the Cordillera provinces are considered as hazard prone areas. Data from Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) also indicates an average of twenty typhoons usually visit the country, the region due to its natural, mountainous character is prone to landslides, experts say.
The MGB data identified that the region is prone to earthquake, landslides, floods and hazards in the Karst area (due to natural development of sinkholes and underground streams in limestone areas). The region including the city of Baguio area are on the top lists of landslide prone areas, the MGB data stated.
MGB also pointed out that about 90 percent of the region is classified as steep to very steep. As such, it is liable to unstable and more mass movements, like landslides, which is complicated by man-made development.
The experts said that despite the Cordillera being a landslide prone, structural mitigation can be adopted to control these landslide areas. These include infra-structure projects like rib concreting and rip-rapping to strengthen weak areas. Canals, drainage and other waterway projects need to be directed away from landslide prone or weak spots.
“These projects should be a priority of the local officials. They should exercise all means to recover the amount of rental that CJHDevco owes to the city and fund the projects to contain or minimize the effects of landslides and other natural disaster,” explained Doco.
Leaders of this summer capital also call for a stop to the squabbling between the Bases Conversion Development Authority/John Hay Development Corporation and the CJHDevco, to gain local support. The squabbling parties have filed court cases against each other, which will only further the long delay of paying the city’s share from the PhP 3 billion lease debt and continued rent payments.
The losers here are the citizens of Baguio, the residents, explained Doco. The city officials who had consented to the privatization of Camp John Hay must insure that the residents get their share now.
Aside from the infra-structure projects to contain landslides, Doco said that the city’s share from the rental can be used to help fund social services, like the Baguio General Hospital that caters to the health needs of the city residents and those from the region. Also, she said that the fund can subsidize public schools in the city that badly needs the support.
“The city officials should learn from their privatization of Camp John Hay. They keep mum on the privatization of BGH. They should stop from the privatization of the Athletic Bowl,” pointed Doco ending that the city is threatened under the present leadership that continuous to disregard the interests of the people, the urban poor particularly. The city has planned a pompous celebration of its foundation day come September 1. # nordis.net