- Published on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 00:00
- Written by DUCKY PAREDES
By A Web design Company
‘One has to wonder why a school is even allowed on what ought to be a residential-only street!’
THE ABS-CBN Foundation seems to be bogged down and getting into deeper trouble as ABS-CBN Foundation managing director Regina Lopez continues to illegally occupy Sabsaban Falls in Brooke’s Point town in Palawan.
The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) has ordered ABS-CBN Foundation to strictly follow the cease order issued earlier by the PCSD Adjudication Board (PAB) against any activity in their Sabsaban Falls ecotourism project in Brooke’s Point, Palawan during the pendency of the case.
PAB Chairman, Atty. Alfredo Abueg Jr., directed the ABS-CBN legal counsels to make sure that their client, ABS-CBN Foundation Managing Director Regina Lopez is aware of this and will strictly adhere to the temporary halt order on the project until the petition for the issuance of a permanent cease and desist order is resolved.
The PAB ordered strict compliance following reports from tribal leaders from barangays Aribungos, Ipilan and Barong-Barong that the Lopez continued to collect fees for the use of a bridge within the area (that the tribesmen built for themselves long before Gina decided to convert the area into her personal resort).
Lawyers Candice Bandong and Patrick Leccio submitted their comment on the petition for the issuance of the CDO which comment has yet to be made public. They promised the Board that their client would strictly comply with the order.
ABS-CBN together with the municipal government of Brooke’s Point and 19 others have been charged with violating the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) for Palawan Act or RA 7611 for developing and continuing to operate the “resort” without a SEP clearance.
A SEP clearance is required before implementation of any project affecting the environment and natural resources of Palawan under PCSD Administrative Order No. 6, the implementing rules and regulations of the SEP Law.
Nineteen of the 21 respondents to the case were excluded on the motion of provincial prosecutor Allen Ross Rodriguez, a PAB member, for having no direct participation in the development and management of the so-called ecotourism project.
Rodriguez moved to drop charges against the officials of Barangay Ipilan and Aribungos because their recommendation of the project does not constitute violation of the AO No. 6. He also ruled that the training conducted by the Agustinian Missionaries Association of the Philippines represented by Sister Xenia Mae Juanitas was incidental.
Other PAB members, namely Atty. Nesario Awat, former Congressman Vicente Sandoval, PNP Provincial Director Reynaldo Jagnis and Director Josephine Matulac representing PCSD Executive Director Romeo Dorado concurred.
Prosecuting lawyer, Herminia Caabay did not oppose the move.
But, ABS-CBN Foundation represented by Lopez and the Brooke’s Point Municipal Government represented by Mayor Narciso Leoncio, who were the signatories to a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to develop the area and operate it, remain as party-respondents.
Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) Emelina Cojamco has also been dropped as respondent because the administrative case against her has been referred to the legal office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Sandoval said the cutting of 45 trees within the Sabsaban Falls area, whether the area is classified as timberland or private land, which cutting was authorized by Emelina Cojamco, requires a SEP clearance. In fact, as Sandoval explains it, a SEP clearance is necessary before one can cut down any tree; even one planted by the owner himself in his private back yard!
Doesn’t every true environmentalist know that?
* * *
Everyone I have met in the Quezon City government, including Speaker Sonny Belmonte, says that my Punong Barangay Caesar Marquez is one of the best. And, really, whenever I need anything from Barangay Loyola Heights -- yearly barangay clearances and the residence certificate -- it has always been a pleasant experience.
Last June 1, however, my barangay chief decreed that, in implementing Quezon City Ordinance No. 867, Series 2000, “the alternating one-lane parking policy along city streets and barangay roads” would henceforth be implemented on Esteban Abada and Jose Escaler streets.
Thus, for Escaler Street, where I live, the following was decreed:
“1st day to 15th day of each month: Parking is allowed on the left side of Jose Escaler Street (when entering the road from BPI) from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. only, except during Sundays and Holidays.”
And, on the 16th day till the end of each month, the same applies to the alternate -- right -- side of Escaler Street.
The notice concludes: “Violation of this Ordinance is punishable by a fine of Two Thousand Pesos (P 2,000) only and/or imprisonment of one (1) year.”
Yet, whenever I come home during the day (except on Sundays and Holidays) I have to stop-and-go because private vehicles are delivering or fetching students enrolled in a school right next to my house. Some are even parked there the whole time that the student is in school.
(One has to wonder why a school is even allowed on what ought to be a residential-only street!)
Recently, a barangay tanod came to my house to impose this ordinance. My second car -- a fifteen-year-old Nissan Altima (a necessity because of color-coding) -- was parked in front of my house. He wanted to impose the ordinance on me -- a 17-year resident of the street!
Yet, there were so many cars of non-residents parked also in front of my house (on the wrong side of parking for the day!)
Of course, I refuse to pay. If my punong barangay wants to have parking discipline, he ought to force the school to provide a parking area for all the cars that service the school. That’s easy to compute. Just count the number of students. It’s just about one vehicle (and a maid and driver) per child!
We do have a law, after all, that requires business establishments to provide parking spaces for their customers! (This could be the most ignored Republic Act ever!)
As a resident, I don’t really mind the added hassle of going through heavy traffic on my own street. (Although if the school were to magically disappear, I also wouldn’t mind that ether!)