BAGUIO CITY – The local government’s payment for the P2.7 million accumulated rentals for the properties of land owners affected by the operation of the city-owned Asin mini-hydropower plants from 2007 to 2012 had always been available for processing and subsequent release contrary to the misinformation being made by some of them that the city is not willing to pay them, Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said here recently.
The local chief executive claimed he was ready to sign the pertinent documents for the release of the amount but minus the computed damage claims of the local government, unless the landowners first secure the approval of the local legislative body to waive the city’s counter claim for damages over the accumulated rentals for them to be able to get the full amount.
The city countercharged the landowners for diverting the flow of the Asin river that affected the operation of the power plants causing some loss amounting to more than P2 million.
“We call on the members of the Tuba municipal council and the Benguet provincial board to consider the facts of the case before endorsing the petition of the landowners to the President. The funds had been held in trust by the city for some time because we waited for the landowners to lobby the council to waive the city’s counter claim for damages because I did not have the authority to do so,” Domogan stressed.
He accused some members of the organization of landowners for reportedly misinforming and misleading municipal and provincial officials into believing that the city is not willing to pay the accumulated lease rentals over their properties that were used for the operation of the minihydro power plants, saying that concerned local officials should be circumspect in making a drastic decision on the petition without even looking at the details of what really transpired.
According to him, it is unfortunate that there are a few landowners who continue to mislead their local officials into believing into that the city does not intend to pay the accumulated lease rentals for their properties when in fact they should have followed up the matter of the waiver of counter claim for damages with the local legislative body to authorize the same so that they will receive the full amount.
He explained if the city’s counter claim for damages will not be waived by the local legislative body, the landowners will only get more than P600,000 to be equitably divided among them instead of the full P2.7 million as earlier computed if the waiver shall have been secured from the council.
Domogan called on the land owners to visit his office if they want to get the more than P600,000 remainder of the computed lease rentals of their properties because the city will deduct the computed damages.
However, if they aspire for the release of the full amount to their organization, then they must lobby the local legislators for the immediate enactment of the needed measure stating the waiver of the local government on the counter claims for damages over their computed lease rentals.
By Dexter A. See