Monday, August 4, 2014

A Couple Of Updates On The Mount Kabuyao Case

It's been over two months since the Mount Kabuyao case came unto our consciousness. It's sad to say however that the case at this point seems to be going nowhere. Cases have been filed against Baguio City Congressman Nicasio Aliping Jr. who was tagged as the perpetrator behind the environmental destruction there but the solon denies any involvement in the cutting of trees nor in the road project at the forest reserve.

So what's new? We have two updates for you.

One, the Baguio Water District (BWD) will be pursuing the complaints they filed against Congressman Aliping and three construction companies (RUA Construction, Goldrich Construction, and BLC Construction & Aggregates). This is great news. BWD should be adamant in their stand in the issue. Damage has been done to the forest reserve. Someone held the chainsaws. Someone drove the bulldozers. Someone lighted the trees on fire. That someone (whoever he is) has to pay for what he's done.

I have a question with regards to this development in the case. I can recall that Aliping has absolved the three construction companies any involvement as he said that he merely borrowed their excavation equipments. I'm not that familiar with the workings of the law so I'm not sure how this would affect the complaints that were filed way before Aliping absolved the construction companies.

And two, the officer in charge of the Benguet Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) said that Aliping's claim of land inside the Mount Santo Tomas forest reserve is illegal. Octavio Cuanso stated that "Forest reserves are not open to private ownership. Portions of it cannot be converted into private property." I'm sure this is going to muddle the case even more. With these recent developments in the case, the road to justice grows even longer.