Ifugao residents protest multi-level parking in Banaue
IFUGAO, Philippines – Led by their barangay chairman, concerned citizens of Poblacion village in Banaue town have filed a petition against the construction of 7-storey parking building reportedly pursued without prior public consultation.
The petitioners, who are seeking a temporary restraining order against the project, include Poblacion Punong Barangay Fernando Bahatan, Kendall Pung-ao Immoliap, Zenaida Munar-Niwane, Lino Madchiw, and Grasiebel Rufino, with Placido Wachayna as counsel.
They filed the petition before the Second Judicial Region of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 34 in Banaue, Ifugao, on July 13.
In September last year, the Banaue municipal council issued Ordinance No. 16, authorizing the municipal government to secure a P55-million loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines for the “construction and development of a medium rise building (parking).”
On December 10, 2014, Banaue Mayor Jerry Dalipog entered into a loan agreement with DBP for a P55-million loan payable in 15 years, with a 3 year-grace period.
Petitioners against the parking building project cited Article II, Section 2 of the loan agreement which states that “the interest of the loan shall be on floating basis and shall be determined solely by DBP and such determination of the interest rate shall be conclusive and binding upon the borrower.”
The petitioners claimed “there was no public consultation with the general public regarding the multi-million loan” wherein the 20% development fund in the municipal Internal Revenue Allotment is offered as collateral.
Congestion, traffic woes
Petitioners likewise said the project will be built “right at the center of Barangay Poblacion which is the only open space” in the village.
“To allow the construction of the building thereon will only worsen the existing problem of lack of space,” Bahatan stated.
A copy of the petition was sent to DBP, urging it to withhold the loan grant. But in response to Bahatan, DBP Solano Branch in Nueva Vizcaya “insisted that the loan was validly executed.”
The Banaue mayor explained in a phone interview on Monday, July 27, that the DBP would not have approved the loan agreement without the necessary documents, and a public hearing.
Dalipog said the project was duly approved by the municipal council as it was well discussed and incorporated in the Comprehensive Development Plan of Banaue.
“As a tourist destination, we need the parking facility to solve problems on traffic,” Dalipog, said referring to the famous Ifugao Rice Terraces.
At present, the main road is being utilized for vehicle parking, much to the inconvenience of the public.
The initial construction works started in April 2015 but was temporarily halted in May during the celebration of the town’s Imbayah Festival. It resumed in early July.
The project is targeted for completion within 240 working days. – Rappler.com
Photo from Wikimedia Commons