Wednesday, February 11, 2009

UDPATE RE: Laoag Central Elementary School demolition

January 12:
I filed Draft Provincial Resolution No. 2009-01-122 declaring the Laoag Central Elementary School an Important Cultural Property.

It is said to be too controversial, so is referred to the committee on laws for further review.

February 3:
A new proposal is filed.  This time, an ordinance (imposing a moratorium in any demolition and construction involving a cultural property), introduced by the Committees on Laws and Tourism AND covering not only LCES but the provincial capitol and other nearby buildings as well--thereby superceding my earlier resolution.

February 6:  
A public hearing is called (see picture above).  All stakeholders attend, including the principal, the parents, the business community, barangay chairmen, some city councilors, THE MAYOR, and the entire Farinas clan.

The National Historical Institute sent an architect and an engineer.

I asked them to verify if the LCES is indeed a Gabaldon school.  They certify that it is.

Arguments in favor and against are voiced out by the stakeholders.  The joint committee, under the leadership of BM Salenda and BM Lazo take not of all comments.

February 9:
After a few amendments, the Provincial Board passes the measure on 2nd Reading.  IN FAVOR: Barba, Chua, Nalupta, Marcos, Salenda, Ranada, Ablan, Castro, Galano, Lazo.  AGAINST: Farinas.  ABSTAIN: Ong-Sin.

Later, the measure is passed on 3rd Reading.  Same voting profile. 10-1-1.

Draft Provincial Ordinance No. 2009-02-083 is APPROVED.

Awaiting signature of the Governor.  Then publication.  After 15 days, the law takes effect.

Hopefully, that's enough to save the school.


Anonymous said...

di ba general supervision lang ang meron sa provl govt over city govt?

at hindi na rin kasi conducive for learning yong site ng lces ngayon
delikado rin ang mga bata in case na di mamalayan ng mga bantay na makalabas sila at may mabilis na sasakyan baka mabangga pa

Kris Ablan said...

I understand your concern, but it's not about supervising the city government.

It's more about protecting and conserving historical sites found in the province.

It just so happens that this particular historical site is found inside Laoag. We're not encroaching on the city government because it remains to be a component city of the province.

Regarding the issue of not being conducive to learning, LCES students topped the NAT last year.

Finally, according to a teacher who has taught in LCES for 30 years, not a single student had been in an accident in front of the school. This is because the PTCA has a pedestrian protection project in effect.

rae said...

Does it mean that the owner of a private property cannot enforce the contract he entered into because of an ordinance that declared a building which happens to be erected on the said property a cultural one?
Is the ordinance even constitutional?

This is already the second project of the city that the provincial government is trying to stop.

Is it really about protecting a historical site or whatsoever or is it just against the Fariñases?

Kris Ablan said...

Yes, Rae, under our system of government, the province can do that. It's in the Local Government Code, which grants the Provincial Board the authority to prescribe reasonable limits and restraints on the use of property within its jurisdiction.

And, yes, it is constitutional. Our constitution declares that the State shall conserve, promote, and popularize the nation's historical and cultural heritage.

This is not new. They have done this in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. The ancestral houses there are privately-owned by individuals but they cannot just renovate or demolish their homes as they wish because a City Ordinance prescribes restrictions on them. This doesn't mean they can't renovate their houses. It just means they have to abide by the procedure laid out by the local government.

I'm not against the Farinases. I agree with them in saying that having a commercial center in Laoag is long overdue. Pero sa laki ng Laoag, bakit kelangan mag-demolish ng 80 year old school to accomplish such project? Why can't the City build a mall along airport road? There's so much land to develop. Why destroy LCES?

I think highly of Mayor Michael. I've met him many times before and I think he's an okay guy. I support his projects to uplift Laoag City. Just not this one.

p.s. Thanks for the comment though. I realize that a lot of people in Laoag really want to this project to push through because it will provide a lot of jobs and it could spur economic activity. I hope we can find a compromise (i.e. have the mall, but preserve the school building structure).

Anonymous said...

the project will really generate jobs for us, ilocanos...
plus the new school and other services the city government will provide for the children...i think it's more beneficial if it pushed through

regarding the public hearing which was attended by the Fariñases...i happened to be at the capitol at that time. lazo was very arrogant
i don't know what grudge he holds against them pero sana hindi ka kagaya niya..i really hope di ka nagpapadikta sa kanya
at di ko alam kung matatawa ako sa mga pulis na nasa labas.

ps whatever happened to the convention center? what an eyesore...

Kris Ablan said...

The Ilocos Norte Convention Center and Hotel is 90% complete.

To set the record straight, we didn't think of this project. We merely inherited this from the previous administration. This is another story. :)