Official withdraws support for parking project

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BANAUE, Ifugao: The president of the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) Genoveva Candelario-Pocopio withdrew her support for the construction of the controversial P55-million seven-level parking facility in Banaue town.

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Candelario-Pocopio admits that she is one of the signatories of Municipal Ordinance No. 16 dated September 11, 2014 that authorized the use of the town’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) as payment for the parking lot project.

She changed her stand on the issue after a “conscientious consideration” of the advantages and disadvantages of the project.

“[M]ost especially its financial, cultural and socioeconomic implications, and the personal anxiety that this issue has brought about [that]I hereby irrevocably withdraw my signature in the aforementioned ordinance,” Pocopio said in her affidavit dated August 13.

A case was filed in court against Banaue officials for alleged misuse of the IRA. The lawyer for the petitioners, Jumbo Wachayna, voiced hope that other members of the municipal council will also withdraw their support for the project.

Also earlier, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts has requested the municipal government to stop the project to ensure the conservation and protection of the nearby rice terraces, which is considered a World Heritage Site.

Banaue Mayor Jerry Dalipog, however, maintained that the project is safe as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has issued the project’s Environment Compliance Certificate.

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