Thursday, June 12, 2014

What Happened To Congressman Aliping's Promise Of "Pagbabagong Rumerespeto Sa Kalikasan At Kapaligiran"?

During the heated election campaign last year, Nicasio Aliping Jr. made a campaign video to help him get ahead of the competition. The video began with a rather snarky comment directed towards those who previously sat on Congress and represented Baguio City for the last two decades. He was obviously referring to Mauricio Domogan and Bernardo Vergara. Taking a leaf out of U.S. President Barack Obama's book, Aliping exclaimed "Panahon na ng pagbabago." It's time for change. The people of Baguio City swallowed the bait.

Aliping Jr., to many Baguio citizens, was indeed a breath of fresh air. A new face. Someone to break the cycle of Domogan and Vergara. And so he won and became the new Congressman of Baguio City. In his first year in office, he seems to be doing good. Then the Mt. Sto. Tomas issue broke out. The massive cutting of trees and earth-excavation in the protected forest reserve were allegedly committed under his graces. He owns land in the area. So far, everything points to Aliping as the culprit.

This brings us back to the campaign video he made last year. A portion of the video has the red-clad candidate strolling through a wooded area with the voice-over saying "Pagbabagong rumerespeto sa kalikasan at kapaligiran." Taking the video in perspective to what recently happened in Mt. Sto. Tomas, it's not that difficult to label Aliping as a liar, a hypocrite and one who puts his personal interests above those people he promised to serve. Hundreds of trees were cut. The excavations of the earth opened the mountain slopes up to possible erosions. Water sources were affected. Indeed, it's a tragedy.

Some people are suggesting that Aliping be given the benefit of the doubt. Why? How? The evidence is there. Aliping personally wrote to the Mayor of Tuba about the excavations. This puts his name in the middle of the picture. And the fact that the cutting and excavations were done without the necessary permits, such actions are inexcusable.