Issue of July 9, 2017
Mt. Province

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Media groups not sold to development of public info regional office
by BMC release

A HERITAGE STRUCTURE -- Concerned quarters, including the biggest media club in Northern Luzon, have asked Malacañang to maintain status quo and preserve the “Cordillera House” fronting The Mansion following plans to renovate and convert one of the most functional offices into a cottage for the Executive Secretary of the Office of the President.
-- Harley Palangchao

Media organizations in Baguio and Benguet called on Malacañang to reconsider its planned development of the complex that houses the Cordillera office of the Philippine Information Agency, one of the government’s communication arms, in front of The Mansion in the city.

Local media groups are apprehensive that the development of the Lualhati Guest House, also known as the Cordillera House, will make the area off limits to the public. The building currently houses the office of PIA-Cordillera, one of the most functional and efficient regional line agencies.

In a letter dated May 22, Deputy Executive Secretary Rizalina Justol advised PIA Director General Harold Clavite to turn over the property to the office, which intends to develop the site and convert the same as a new cottage for the Executive Secretary.

The Executive Secretary usually comes to Baguio when the President visits the Summer Capital or some parts of the region. President Rodrigo Duterte visited Baguio only once since elected into office last year.

In a resolution, the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters’ Club asked the Office of the President to instead help preserve the structure and to retain the PIA as the custodian of the property.

The BCBC said developing the area and converting it to a cottage for the Executive Secretary will diminish the structure’s historical value and its use as a regular venue for press conferences will be disregarded.

“The Cordillera House under the care of the PIA-CAR has established a sense of community among local officials and the media community, both local and national.  It has become a regular venue for kapihans/press conferences that contribute to minimizing government resources in imparting the programs of the agencies,” the resolution read.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines Baguio-Benguet also asked the Office of the President to retain the area as official residence and hub of the PIA-Cordillera.

“The PIA-CAR office has served more than just an office accessible to its clientele in CAR but also to Northern and Central Luzon. It did not only serve the different administrations very well but also it has been the government liaison to the media, both local and national press, and to the local government units and other line agencies,” the NUJP said in a statement.

The Cordillera Photographers and Videographers Press Corps Club also issued a manifesto to retain the Cordillera House as the regional office of PIA-Cordillera.

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