Solon Respects CA Decision on Writ of Kalikasan
May 16, 2015
BAGUIO Representative Nicasio M. Aliping Jr. of this city respects the decision handed down by the Court of Appeals (CA) on the petition for a Writ of Kalikasan filed by two Catholic bishops last year.
The decision of fifth division written by Associate Justice Ramon Cruz granted the petition of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president and Lingayen-Dagupan Bishop Socrates Villegas and Baguio-Benguet Bishop Carlito Cenzon to permanently stop any development in Mt. Sto. Tomas straddling Baguio City and the municipality of Tuba, Benguet.
The 54-page decision also made permanent the Temporary Environmental Protection Order issued last year on the forest reserve by the Supreme Court.
Aliping said that he respects the decision of the CA but that he may appeal the ruling.
“We respect the decision but we will avail of our legal remedies available to us as part of the procedural process,” Aliping stressed.
Aliping has tax declarations covering 2.688 hectares at Mt. Sto. Tomas which he plans to develop into a resort.
But the CA put a stop to this plan when it ordered a halt to any land development including flattening and undertaking of earth moving activities, constructing any structure and opening of roads.
“We have not yet received a copy of the decision,” lawyer Ron Perez, Aliping’s counsel in the case, said as he added that until he receives the ruling he will not be able to comment or even talk about their next moves.
The decision also stops Tuba Mayor Florencio Bentres from issuing any kind of permit for any activity involving the Mt. Sto. Tomas forest reserve.
Aside from Aliping’s claim, there is a community at the area including farm lots for vegetable production – which is part of Barangay Poblacion of Tuba; a number of relay towers of major television and radio stations; a military base; and adits of small scale mining activities.
The decision stops the Tuba mayor from granting business, occupancy or building permits at the forest reserve.
It also directed concerned agencies to find a solution to the soil erosion experienced at the Amliang Creek which supplies water to a portion of the south western side of Baguio City.
The CA also said that the DENR should criminally charge those who violated the environmental laws, including those involved in illegal mining, illegal logging and illegal squatting in the Mount Sto. Tomas Forest Reserve./Carl C. Taawan