Issue of July 6, 2014
     
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63rd Courier Anniversary Issue
 
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Aliping promised in 2012 trees will stay untouched
by Jimmy K. Laking

Baguio Rep. Nicasio Aliping Jr. assured the municipal council of Tuba in 2012 that all the trees on his claim in Mt. Sto. Tomas will be preserved as part of a plan to develop a nature and adventure site that is projected as an alternative tourist destination to Mt. Pulag.

Aliping made the assurance when he appeared before the municipal council on May 22, 2012.

The minutes of the meeting also recorded Aliping’s statement in full where he acknowledged that he purchased the property from a German family and from the late Felimon (Coyupan).

He told the municipal council he envisioned to name his 16-hectare claim as “Kabuyao Cliff Nature and Adventure Site” that will feature a zip line, mini zoo, an ecological sanctuary, horse-back riding, trail, and facilities for rappelling.

He also said his elder brother Brian had acquired 90 hectares more or less below the projected nature and adventure site.

In his statement that was given in English and Iloco, Aliping told the council he has advised his neighbors in the vicinity to avoid cutting trees.

He said in the same manner, he advised farmers to take care of their litter, including pesticides.

“I am interested in having a private partnership here in Tuba so that we can promote the tourism of Tuba,” he said.

Upon questioning, Aliping also questioned the existence of an army camp where an American radar facility used to be located.

He clarified that the site is not a resort, adding he was willing to go with the (development) plan of the barangay as well as the municipality.

He said that initially he thought of using the area for his family, but eventually realized its potential as a site for adventure activities.

In last Tuesday’s press conference where Aliping detailed his accomplishments in his first year as member of the Lower House, he said his camp will closely coordinate with government agencies in mitigating the effects of the excavation at Sto. Tomas, but declined to speak the details of his plans.

Aliping said he is constantly communicating with the Baguio Water District.

“We will answer them (accusations) at the proper time and at the proper forum,” he said.

He said the series of media reports and criticisms from netizens are part of the life of public servants like him.

BWD has filed a case against Aliping and contractors RUA, Goldrich, and BLC Construction and Aggregates for violation of Republic Act 9275 or the Clean Water Act of 2004.

The water utility has reported loosened soil from the road opening project has contaminated its water sources at the Amliang Creek.

Aliping acknowledged the need to coordinate with BWD.

He said his crew is working round-the-clock to clean the water sources while bamboo and pine seedlings were planted within the site of the proposed eco-tourism park.

While he vowed to cooperate with the BWD, he failed to attend the two technical conferences set by the DENR.

The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources has filed a case against Aliping and the three contractors for violation of Presidential Decree 705 of the Forestry Code of the Philippines as amended.

Aliping and the three construction firms also face a case for violation of Presidential Decree 1586 or the Environmental Impact Statement System.

Also last week, Aliping was spotted by the Courier when he visited the proposed site of the eco-tourism park and granted interview with officials of the Commission on Human Rights led by Director Harold Kub-aron.

Dozens of pine tree and coffee seedlings were also seen at the site.

Aliping denied that loosened soil has desecrated any burial caves within Sto. Tomas.

The solon also informed the CHR team that small-scale mining and the ongoing road rehabilitation project of the Department of Public Works and Highways contributed to the contamination of the Amliang Creek.


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