Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Aliping Finally Breaks His Silence About The Mt. Sto. Tomas Issue

After weeks of dodging queries thrown his way with regards to the Mt. Sto. Tomas issue, Baguio City Congressman Nicasio Aliping Jr. finally broke his silence at a recent press conference. However, his statements raised more questions than answers. It's good that the solon is finally talking because the people of Baguio City and Tuba, Benguet deserve to be updated on the issue.

At the recent press conference, Aliping admitted that he has a project in Kabuyao, Sto. Tomas, Tuba, Benguet. At the same time, Aliping claimed that his project didn't cause the cutting of trees and contamination of springs there. What an anti-clincher! So if Aliping did not cut the trees and bulldoze the earth, who did? The Congressman did not directly accuse any party but he mentioned the "presence of illegal private miners" and of a "massive road improvement and widening" in the area.

Aliping did not elaborate further, preferring to issue a canned statement, saying that "In due time, because of the pendency of the case, I will also make my statements at the proper time at the proper forum."

The solon admitted that he has a project in the area but he had it plugged after getting a stoppage order from the Department of Natural Resources (DENR). As to the nature of the project, Aliping says that "It's an eco-tourism park." 
This case is starting to look really weird. Three cases had already been filed against Aliping by DENR and the Baguio Water District (BWD). Did these offices get sloppy and rushed their cases? And now, Aliping is trying to wash his hands clean by claiming that his project was not responsible for the cutting of trees and pollution of water springs.

Right now, it's very difficult to believe that Aliping has no hand in the damage done to Sto. Tomas. Most of the evidence points to him as the culprit. Three cases had been filed against him. Looking at the the extent of the damage done, it's hard to think that these had been caused by mere small miners.

And this excuse of an eco-park is insulting. The area is a watershed. It's a forest reserve. It's a protected area. So it's already an eco-park.

Hundreds of trees were burned and cut. The earth was excavated and opened up. These did not happen by themselves. Somebody lit the fires. Somebody drove the bulldozers. Somebody wielded the chainsaws. Who is this somebody? Is he congressman Aliping? Is he a private miner? Is he a vegetable farmer? Who is he?