Baguio charter revision opposed

Baguio charter revision opposed

BAGUIO CITY — City council members, backed by Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong, have expressed strong opposition to House Bill 9428, a proposed measure by Rep. Marquez “Mark” O. Go which seeks to amend the Baguio City Charter.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, Councilor Jose M. Molintas stressed the importance of proper public consultation, highlighting potential social and economic impacts for such a move. He said the bill’s focus on partial segregation of Camp John Hay (CJH) reservation land could disadvantage a significant portion of the city.

While supporting the ownership of titles for residents in the 13 barangays within the CJH reservation, Mr. Molintas the charter revisions should be better understood as many of the provisions in HB 9428 could potentially disenfranchise local residents.

He was referring specifically to the indigenous Ibaloy communities in the affected barangays, historically known as “Kafagway” or “pasteur land.” 

Despite a 2001 segregation of Scout Barrio as a socialized housing area, the remaining 13 barangays continue to face restrictions. Mr. Molintas highlighted a 1994 resolution by the city council outlining 19 conditionalities for the Bases Conversion and Development Authority’s (BCDA) master development plan for Camp John Hay, yet these have not been fully complied with.

Councilor Peter Fianza echoed Mr. Molintas’ concerns, emphasizing the need for public consultations before passing legislation. The recent public consultation at the Baguio Cultural and Convention Center turned contentious when attendees allegedly affiliated with Mr. Go disrupted the proceedings.

Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan condemned the incident, underscoring the importance of obtaining public opinion on Mr. Go’s proposal.

Mr. Molintas clarified that the discussions are not politically motivated or a personal attack against Mr. Go. Instead, it is a well-intentioned effort to engage in a meaningful consultation regarding legislation that significantly impacts city’s future. — Artemio A. Dumlao