SABLAN, Benguet – The contractor of a P239 million road opening project in sitio Monglo, Barangay Bayabas, here criticized the municipal government for alleged harassment by issuing an arbitrary cease and desist order against the operation of its mobile batching plant within the project site.
Lawyer Edward Raymond B. Palsiw, legal counsel of the Philippine Electrical Supply Corporation (PHESCO), the contractor of the aforesaid project, pointed out that the issuance of the questioned cease and desist order against the operation of the company’s mobile batching plant was done without due process and is against existing rules that government projects such as the one being implemented by the contractor should not be unjustly delayed.
He stated that the operation of the said mobile batching plant had been issued a certificate of non-coverage by no less than the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) after passing all the required tests on emission among other parameters on its effects to the environment that is why the company is wondering why it could not proceed with its concrete batching operations.
On the issue of the absence of mayor’s permit prior to the company’s operation on the municipality. The legal counsel claimed that in all the cities and municipalities that the firm had been operating, it was never a requirement for the same to obtain the said permit and that the CNC is sufficient to support its operations.
According to him, the company is currently processing the said permit but it is unfortunate that Bayabas punong barangay Teofilo Anacioco does not issue the requisite barangay business clearance for the firm to be able to proceed in processing the mayor’s permit that is why they should not be blamed for the failure of the process to proceed.
Palsiw also questioned the municipal government for allegedly giving credence to the few opposition to the operation of its mobile batching plant when numerous residents have signed a petition that they are in favor of the same to pave the way for the completion of the road opening project that will pave the way for enhanced economic activities of the people in the area.
The road opening project is part of the Baguio-La Trinidad-Sablan-Tub-Tublay (BLISTT) outer ring circumferential road project that is aimed at inter-connecting the city and 5 Benguet towns to entice investors to put up their businesses outside Baguio City.
“We, the undersigned residents near the PHESCO batching plant located at Monglo, Bayabas, Benguet, unanimously declare and manifest that the operation of the said batching plant does not directly affect our health, hence, we are in favor for its operation to fastrack the construction at Bayabas, Sablan circumferential road, to ease the problem/concern of the residents there at regarding their road,” the one-page petition stated.
Palsiw argued that former Mayor Manuel Munar, Jr. allowed the operation of the said batching plant in the area but after losing the mayoralty race during the May 9, 2022 synchronized national and barangay elections, he allegedly issued a cease and desist order against the same, citing environmental issues and concerns and the inability of the contractor to secure the needed mayor’s permit to continue operation.
He revealed that the company is preparing the necessary charges that will be filed against concerned municipal officials for their alleged grave abuse of discretion or grave abuse of authority among others for their failure to allow the operation of its mobile batching plant by issuing the questioned cease and desist order.
For his part, Mayor Alfredo Dacumos, Jr. asserted that the municipal government had been time and again reminding the contractor to secure the needed mayor’s permit to be able to continue its operation but they reportedly continue to defy the same for still unknown reasons.
While he understands that the ongoing road opening is a vital government infrastructure project that intends to inter-connect various areas, he emphasized the need for the construction company to secure the needed mayor’s permit pursuant to the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local government code of the Philippines.
The local chief executive stipulated that companies doing business in the municipality must secure the required mayor’s permit from the local government to allow their legitimate operation aside from complying with other regulatory requirements being imposed by concerned government agencies regulating the operation of construction companies.
Dacumos explained that the area where the mobile batching plant has been installed is classified as residential by the municipal government that is why concrete batching is actually prohibited.