May 26, 2024

The city council in its Aug. 29 special session continued deliberations on the proposed “Omnibus urgent motion related to the Revised City Charter” with City Legal Officer, Atty. Althea Rosanna Alberto as resource person.
On April 11, 2022, Republic Act 11689 or the “The Revised City Charter” lapsed into law in accordance with Article VI, Section 27 (1) of the Constitution.
From the discussion, the city council has approved Resolution 530, s. 2023 requesting the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Cordillera to be furnished within 20 days upon receipt with: The survey returns or results of Camp John Hay with basis and justifications; the survey of the area turned over to the Bases Conversion and Development Authority under Republic Act 7227, or the “Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992”, with information regarding the increase of the CJH area from what it used to have in 1909 City Charter; and the survey plans showing the entirety of the townsite area of the City of Baguio.
The resolution stated the details and important information about the changes relative to the area of the CJH and the portion delineated to the BCDA are necessary for appropriate legislative actions for consideration in the amendment of the revised city charter.
In its previous meeting regarding the omnibus urgent motion, related resolutions were approved for public information and participation in the proposed revision.
One is Resolution 527, s. 2023, requesting the Congress of the Philippines to remove the provisions about Bases Conversion and Development Authority as contained in Section 53 of Article X and Section 55 of Article XI of RA 11689
“Section 53. City Watersheds. – The Baguio City government, in coordination with the DENR, the National Water Resources Board, and the Baguio Water District, shall protect, conserve, develop, and sustainably manage its forestlands and watersheds, and impose penal sanctions on anyone who destroys or infringes on the said areas and water sources of the City. The forest reservations and water sources within the lands of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority shall remain under the jurisdiction of the BCDA.”
“Section 55. Camp John Hay Reservation. – The Camp John Hay Reservation covering a total land area of 6,254,105 square meters subject to final survey, which was transferred to the BCDA by virtue of Republic Act 7227, as amended, otherwise known as the “Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992,” as amended, is not part of the Baguio Townsite Reservation.”
The resolution also requested inclusion in the amendment of the Charter of the exact technical description of the land area of the City of Baguio.
Another is Resolution 528, s. 2023, requesting the Senate Committee on Local Government to immediately conduct a consultation for the amendment of RA 11689.
The consultation is to give a chance to the position/suggestions of the city council members as enumerated in Resolution 144, s. 2022 which were not incorporated in the law, and to also allow significant thoughts of the citizenry to be heard and considered in the proposed amendment.
The position/suggestions to be addressed include an ambiguous definition of “territorial boundaries” under Section 3 of the law and the need to incorporate in the charter the definite metes and bounds of the city considering the problems arising from its absence like collection of taxes.
Also, the proceeds from the sales of lands under the revised charter go to the coffers of the national government, which is not so in the previous charter wherein the proceeds go to the City Treasury Office and are used to finance the AO 504 Committee which is tasked to issue clearances to applications for land titling.
Likewise,Sections 53 and 54 would undermine Resolution 362, s. 1994 or the 19 conditions in the formulation by the BCDA of the Master Development Plan for CJH.
Further, a plebiscite shall be conducted to involve the people of the city considering the revisions are substantial, and to determine the basis of the 55 hectares increase on the land area of CJH Reservation which rose from 570 hectares (more or less) to 625 hectares:
In Resolution 513, s. 2023, all issues and concerns about the revised city charter were referred to the City Legal Office to consider the filing of a petition to annul the same or declare it unconstitutional and unenforceable or any other legal remedy it may deem appropriate under the circumstances.
The city council has approved Resolution 537, s. 2023, requesting City Mayor Benjamin Magalong to defer the implementation of Demolition Order 40, s. 2018 at puroks 7, 8, and 10 of Dontogan barangay on Sept. 5.
The request is based on the appeal of members of the 1087 Dontogan Neighborhood and Lot Owners Association. The order was issued as a result of the complaint of the heirs of Salve Amistad, et al. who were issued over the area a Certificate of Ancestral Land Titles covering about 13 hectares.
The resolution emphasized the need for all involved parties to engage in meaningful discussions to achieve an amicable resolution.
On Sept. 3, Baguio celebrates “Victory Day” to commemorate the signing of the Instrument of Surrender by General Tomoyuki Yamashita at Camp John Hay in 1945.
The annual celebration is institutionalized under Resolution 229, s. 2016 to raise public awareness on the events that took place during WWII.
Yamashita surrendered on Sept. 2, 1945 in Kiangan, Ifugao, an event that is celebrated annually in the town.
“The Filipino guerillas of Baguio and Benguet has fought alongside with the American forces during the liberation campaign under 66th Infantry Regiment, United States Army Forces in the Philippines-North Luzon, as duly organized guerilla unit.”