Cordillera Roundup

DENR’s schizophrenia: It’s right hand says, “My God the mountains are balding. We should protect them.” But its left hand says, “Come foreign mining companies. Come to the Cordilleras and rape our mountains.” Heck! The DENR is as confused (sick?) as Gollum.

Only two of the six Cordillera provinces are not bald. Official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR): “Apayao province has at least 80 percent forest cover while Abra has more than 50 percent. Ifugao, Kalinga, Benguet and Mountain Province forests have thinned.” Bulatlat reports here. Well, if the DENR’s Mining Geosciences Bureau would have its way, Apayao can kiss that 80% forest cover goodbye. And hey DENR, to protect the environment you should do more than conduct press conferences decrying the sad state of the Cordillera mountains. Logging and mining ban, anyone? Meanwhile, Kalinga is planting 8,000 trees along its roads. More here.

Glovax proposes apology for print ad that maligns Cordillera’s tourists spots. The distributor of a meningococcemia vaccine sought to end a damage suit filed against it by the Baguio City government by issuing a public apology. The ad used the Lion’s Head at Kennon Road and the Ifugao Rice Terraces as background images and stated: “Wherever you go, viruses are waiting to welcome you! Such as meningococcemia, which can kill you in 24 hours.” The Baguio City legal officier is currently formulating a counter-proposal to the Glovax proposal before a final agreement is reached. Sunstar reports here. Cheers to Baguio for its balls in trying to make these drug “profitting out of the sick” companies accountable.

Who are Cordillera’s top tax payers?
Power company Hedcor, Inc. tops the list paying P32 million in income taxes in 2005. Other top taxpayers are: Texas Instruments in Baguio City; the Rural Bank of Sagada in Mountain Province; the Rural Bank of Tabuk in Kalinga; Oscar Dugyon of Racso Construction in Ifugao; and Victorino Baroña Jr in Abra. More here. Yay, good private and corporate citizens! What about those mountain-destroying mining firms like Lepanto Consolidated and Benguet, Inc? Oh they are paying their taxes in Makati or in Pasig.

Links to Cordillera cyberspace:

Kalinga-owned Chico River Quest invites you to try whitewater rafting in Kalinga here.

Looking for nice pictures of Sagada, Mt. Province and Tinglayan, Kalinga? You can find them here and here.

Lastly, the Northern Dispatch does a Special Report on what should be Baguio City’s top three concerns. Insights from different people here. And the city prepares for its anniversary without Mayor Braulio Yaranon who has been suspended for one year. Reports here and here.

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