Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Aliping Seeks To Withdraw The Bill He Filed Segregating Parts Of Forbes Park For Housing

Baguio City Representative Nicasio Aliping Jr. had a change of heart. The solon is now seeking for the withdrawal of the house bill he filed which if approved would've segregated portions of Forbes Park for housing. It's a positive development worthy of a long, slow clap.

The Midland Courier reported last Sunday that Aliping changed his mind after hearing the opinion of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on the matter. The congressman was quoted as saying, "So, I filed a bill and requested through the Committee for the DENR’s comment. When we received the opinion of the DENR, I immediately asked that it be deferred."

It's great that Aliping is changing his mind about the proposed bill but the reason for his recantation raises a few questions that keep swirling at the back of my head.

First of all, I'm not a lawyer or someone who has deep knowledge about the legislative process. However, I can't help but ask, "Why didn't Aliping seek the opinion of the DENR before he proceeded in filing the bill?" We are talking about a protected reserve here. If there's anyone Aliping should talk to before pursuing the bill, it's the DENR.

When Paquito Moreno, the regional director of DENR-CAR, heard about Aliping's proposal, he immediately wrote to the house committee on natural resources informing them of the agency's rejection of the bill. Part of Paquito's letter goes, "We regret to inform the House committee on natural resources that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources opposes the passage of House Bill No. 4976."

Moreno stressed that the area being targeted to be turned into a residential area is a critical water source for Baguio City. The Baguio Water District also maintains six pumping stations within the Forbes Reservation. With that said, if Aliping's proposed bill gets approved, the city's water supply will likely be affected.

It's baffling that Aliping did not immediately get the side of the DENR before filing the bill. If he did, he would've saved us a lot of wasted time. Maybe he knew that Moreno would shot down the proposal so he filed it anyway without seeking Moreno's opinion?

Basically, what Aliping did was file the bill then ask for the DENR's comments. I don't know if I'm the only one but this doesn't make sense to me at all. A simple call to the office of the DENR or the Baguio Water District would've given Aliping the information he needs to conclude that the bill he is about to file is not feasible at all.
The Cordilleran Sun file photo.