By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
BAGUIO CITY — In Banaue town of Ifugao where the world known rice terraces are found, the residents filed a case in court to stop the construction of a P55 million worth medium rise building which will be used for parking vehicles.
The petitioners filed the prohibition and injunction case at the Regional Trial Court Branch 34 here as they alleged that an ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Bayan authorizing Mayor Jerry Dalipog to borrow the above amount in behalf of the town and the loan agreement that the town entered into with Development Bank of the Philippines is illegal.
They added that the project, which commenced construction at the heart of the Poblacion, endangers the lives and properties of the residents in the area.
It was learned that the Sangguniang Bayan of Banaue passed Ordinance No. 16 on September 11, 2014 which authorized the borrowing of the 55 million pesos to fund the construction and development of a medium rise building for parking.
They said that such ordinance violated the Local Government Code as it was done without prior consultations as required before any project could start. The initial phase of the construction started in April this year, the petitioners said.
They pointed out the irregularity in processing the loan from the DBP. While the Ordinance was submitted for review with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on December 1, 2014 and which was only approved on January 27, 2015, the Municipality through Mayor Dalipog had already executed the loan from the DBP on December 10, 2014.
To halt the release of the loan, Barangay Captain Fernando Bahatan of Poblacion, Banaue wrote the DBP to withhold the said loan.
“There was no consultation with the general public regarding the multi-million loan for the project. The 20 percent development fund in the Municipal IRA is offered as collateral for the loan,” said Bahatan, one of the petitioners, in his letter dated May 14, 2015.
He also pointed out that the intended site for the building is the only open space at Poblacion where they conduct indigenous activities like the Imbayah, their thanksgiving ritual.
As of this writing, Mayor Dalipog had a meeting with the petitioners on Thursday in Banaue. The mayor proposed that they will redesign the building but the petitioners did not agree.
Instead the petitioners proposed that the building be transferred to the back of the gym in Poblacion but the mayor claimed the space there is not feasible for the building.
Meanwhile, it was learned from the petitioners that the 20 days Temporary restraining Order was denied by Judge Esther Piscoso Flor of RTC Branch 34 on July 21 although she granted a 72 hour TRO on July 16. Their motion for reconsideration on the July 21 order was not acted on as they claimed that Judge Flor was on leave. # nordis.net