BAGUIO CITY (August 23) — Today marks a little victory for the people of Baguio City as the city council approved on second reading the repeal of a traffic ordinance, Ordinance 003-2000, which, the councilors said, allowed the city streets to be utilized commercially by a private entity, as proposed by Councilor Edilberto B. Tenefrancia in July 2004. A related resolution introduced by Councilors Rocky Thomas A Balisong, Perlita Chan-Rondez and Jose M. Molintas, asking the city legal officer to notify Jadewell of the rescission of the contract, and a people’s petition were likewise unanimously approved.
How the councilors voted
Aside from Tenefrancia, Molintas, Rondez and Balisong, councilors, Galo D. Weygan, Leandro B. Yangot, Jr., Rufino Panagan, Antonio R. Tabora, Jr., and Faustino A. Olowan voted for the resolutions towards repealing the traffic ordinance and rescinding the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the city and the Jadewell Parking Systems Corp. (Jadewell).
Councilor Daniel T. Fariñas was out of the session hall when the discussions started. Councilor Federico J. Mandapat voted for the resolutions but abstained in the resolution approving on second reading the petition against Jadewell by the multi-sectoral Crusaders against Jadewell, saying it is politically-motivated. Councilors Leonardo Bayan, Jr., Elmer O. Datuin and Erdolfo V. Balajadia were absent.
The voting went through the proverbial eye of the needle despite an earlier pronouncement that the councilors wanted Jadewell out of the Baguio streets and parks. Discussions before the parliamentary call for the question dwelled on how to get Jadewell out. More discussions on the parliamentary procedures took a considerable time during the special session.
“It’s like cutting the tree from its roots,” Rondez said as she quoted City Legal Officer Melchor Rabanes. Rondez told the council to get down into the roots of the problem by repealing the traffic ordinance that gave way to a contract. “Whatever we do we would be sued, anyway, by Jadewell, so we might as well do what is right for the city and the people,” Rondez said.
The council deferred Molintas’es proposal to authorize the mayor to order Jadewell to vacate the Ganza parking area. Tenefrancia wanted to proceed with utmost caution this time, after the councilors passed a resolution in 2002 attempting to rescind the pay-parking contract they were slapped with a court case, now being appealed with at the Supreme Court.
Molintas maintained that the Ganza pay-parking is within Burnham Park, which the city legally does not own, thus, could not have been the subject of a contract between the city and Jadewell.
Nothing to rescind in the MOA supplement
The councilors agree that the Supplemental MOA is null and void that there is nothing to rescind in it. Tenefrancia suggested that it should be treated separately.
They all agree that the 12-year concession of the Ganza area and Burnham Park over a property owned by the national government was not even confirmed by the council then but was appended to the pay-parking MOA.
The Crusaders Against Jadewell claimed that the repeal of the ordinance is significant as they recalled that on August 23, 1896, a century and a decade ago in our history, small people gathered in Pugadlawin and tore their Spanish residence certificates or cedula. This was noted in our history books as the Cry of Pugadlawin which signified the Philippine revolution led by katipuneros (native revolutionaries).# Lyn V. Ramo for NORDIS