Sunday, June 22, 2014

Congressman Aliping Is An Irresponsible Man. Here's Why.

You've probably heard this a hundred times but we're saying it again because this is serious business. Baguio City's top official has been tagged in a tragic crime against the environment wherein hundreds of trees were wantonly burned and cut, mountain slopes were irreparably excavated, and springs which are sources of water for 20 communities in Baguio City were polluted. You may think that we are exaggerating things but we are not. If you don't believe us, go to Mt. Sto. Tomas yourself and see the damage done. Some photos of the project can be seen here.

Now, here's what's so irritating about the way Congressman Nicasio Aliping Jr. has been treating the issue. He isn't talking. He isn't addressing the issue at all. He is stalling things. He failed to honor not one but two technical conferences that were scheduled to resolve the issue. The conferences were supposed to give Aliping and the contractors accused in the issue to explain their side. It would've been a dialogue between the accused and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB). Congressman Aliping didn't make it to the two conferences. Instead, he requested twice that these conferences be reset.

The first technical conference should've happened on June 10. But Aliping requested a resetting of the meeting so it was rescheduled for June 18. However, the day before the conference, Aliping went to the EMB and asked again for the conference to be rescheduled. That's the second time he asked for a reschedule. The conference is now set to happen sometime in the second week of July. Given the trend that Aliping established, don't be surprised if he asks yet again for the date to be moved.
A screengrab from an Aliping campaign video during the 2013 elections.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that there's no cleanup plan yet for the polluted water sources in Mt. Sto. Tomas. Why? Only the DENR may direct the people behind the road construction project to undertake the cleanup. And determining who was responsible for the contamination has yet to be done. Sure, charges against Aliping and company have been filed but thes is not enough to establish "responsibility" as far as the law is concerned.

But because Aliping has been stalling the technical conferences, the people of Baguio City will have to suffer even more. The springs and dams polluted by the excavations in Mt. Sto. Tomas will remain polluted until Aliping man up and address the issue in the soonest possible time.

So please Congressman Aliping, where do your interests lie as a public servant? Cleaning up the mess in Mt. Sto. Tomas will happen faster if you get out of your shell and address the issue NOW. In fact, the cleanup will probably be happening right this moment if you did not request for the technical conferences to be reset twice. When you campaigned last year, you mentioned protection and preservation of the environment as one of your missions. What happened to that promise?