Campbell Trial Ends, Verdict Out on June 30

Here’s the latest update on the Campbell tragedy which we started covering last year. According to the this report, the judge is expected to issue her decision about three months from now. Here’s the links to our previous posts on the Campbell tragedy should you want to revisit them: Missing in Ifugao; Video Updates on Julia Campbell; On Juan Dontugan’s Surrender; People vs. Dontugan I; People vs. Dontugan II; Campbell Family to Attend Dontugan Hearing.

Campbell slay trial ends; verdict to be out June 30
Melvin Gascon/Inquirer

BANAUE, Ifugao, Philippines — The trial of the accused in the murder of United States Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell ended here Wednesday, a day after her first death anniversary.

Presiding Judge Ester Piscoso-Flor of the Regional Trial Court Branch 34 gave the prosecution and the defense 30 days to file their memorandum or a summary of the evidence presented in the case.

She set the issuance of the court’s decision for June 30.

“We are glad that we are on schedule. We expect to come out with the verdict before the end of June to enable both parties get over with this trial,” Flor said.

Wednesday’s hearing, which lasted only 10 minutes, capped more than 11 months of trial of one of this mountain town’s most celebrated cases — the murder of a foreigner in a village that draws thousands of foreign and local tourists every year.

Campbell, 40, a former journalist and an English teacher then assigned in Albay, disappeared on April 8, 2007, while walking along the mountain trail leading to remote Batad village. Her decomposing body was found 10 days later, buried in a gorge about 20 meters from the trail.
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A Must Read from Maurice

Here’s an article by Maurice Malanes on how we are losing our traditional crop varieties and replacing them with high-yielding ones which require a lot of input such as pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

The result? The farmers become trapped in a cycle of debt and dependency. Biro mo, kailangan nilang bumili ng seeds every time they plant. With these high yielding varieties, you cannot just save your seeds to plant for the next season. You have to buy new seeds every time and, as mentioned above, these varieties require a lot of fertilizer and pesticides.

Who are pushing for this tragedy to happen? Foreign agri-business companies and their local minions a.k.a Gloria and the Department of Agriculture.

By the way, in case you’ve not been visiting Maurice’s blog, he has other must-read articles which are really worth reading.

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Bontoc as a Tourist Destination

Here’s an interesting story about the packaging of Bontoc as a tourism destination. Just some quick comments for the one who wrote the story hehe.

* Bontoc is part of the highlands. It may be lower in elevation than Sagada or Banaue but it is very much a part of the Cordillera highlands.

* People of Bontoc are iBontocs/iFontoks and not Ifugaos. Ifugao is a separate province so its not correct to say that Bontoc has an “Ifugao heritage”.

* What exactly does “descendants of old tribes” mean?

Anyways, according to this report, there is a plan to build an airport on top of one of them thar mountains and iFontoks are resisting the idea.

If I am from Bontoc, I would also resist it. Well, I’m from neighboring Sagada so maybe I should also join the resistance hehe. The problem with tourist-oriented projects like this is that they are conceived to please the tourist.

Nothing wrong really with trying to attract tourists but if the primary reason for planning an airport is to make it easy for them to go traipse in the boondocks for a day then I’d say it is a bad idea. And those who resist this idea, i.e., “the descendants of old tribes”, should not be portrayed, as this article (or its source) slightly does, as anti-development.

Anyways, in our bid to attract tourists we should also be mindful of the social costs of tourism. I believe that sacrificing the ancestral domains of the “descendants of old tribes” for an airport designed for tourists is, at the end of the day, going to be more costly than the income we’ll get from tourism.

Now, if the people of Bontoc themselves are clamoring for an airport then maybe you can justify an airport.
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Ifugao and Isabela to Split Power Tax

Kudos to Ifugao Governor Teddy Baguilat for working out this deal which will result in more tax money (in the tune of P57 million) flowing into Ifugao. Equal kudos goes to Isabela Governor Grace Padaca for agreeing to the deal. Finally, the court which brokered the agreement also deserves kudos. As Trublue says, “Cheers to you all!”

Ifugao, Isabela OK deal to split P114M in taxes
By Vincent Cabreza, Villamor Visaya/PDI

BAGUIO CITY – Ifugao and Isabela have agreed to split a P114-million transfer tax paid by the new operators of the 360-megawatt Magat hydroelectric power plant, easing the tension between the two provinces over the power facilities’ profits.

Ifugao Gov. Teodoro Baguilat Jr. said he and Isabela Gov. Maria Gracia Cielo Padaca agreed to a 50-50 percent split during a six-hour meeting at an Isabela resort on Monday.

It was the first meeting set to resolve their legal and boundary problems, which resurfaced when Magat was sold to the SN Aboitiz Power Inc. (Snap) in 2007, Baguilat said.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue said taxes were paid to Isabela in the last few years of the Magat plant operations because the facility was located in what had previously been acknowledged as Isabela territory.

Magat’s main plant is located in Ramon town. But Baguilat said some of the areas attributed to Isabela are Ifugao lands.
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