BAGUIO CITY – Officials of the Tadianagan-Nangalisan Hydro Ancestral Land Owners Association, Inc. (TNHALAI) appealed to the city council that the claim of the city government against them be waived pursuant to the earlier approved compromise agreement before a local court so that they can be paid the rentals of their properties which the local government had been utilizing during the entire operation of its Asin minihydro power plants.
In a letter dated 13 April 2014 addressed to the members of the city council, the group represented by Florida B. de Vera, TNHALAI president; John P. Polon, vice president; Angela P. Nanes, treasurer; Rosita C. Ambi, secretary and members of the board of directors Sukarno S. Benito and Janet M. Diego, cited ‘honestly, we were not participants to the stoppage of the operation of the Asin hydro at that time that give into the filing of the civil case.’
It can be recalled that the city government filed a civil case against the members of the organization for allegedly conniving in cutting off the pipelines supplying water to the city-owned Asin minihydro power plants that resulted to the shutting down of its operation.
However, the organization and the city government entered into a compromise agreement in order to facilitate the dropping of the case against the organization to allow them to collect the accumulated payment of the rentals of their properties.
Under the compromise agreement, it stated ‘herein parties, including the TNHALAI for brevity, herein represented by its president, Mr. Roger Sinot, who are also the parties in NCIP Case No. 005-CAR-08, NCIP-CAR, by way of settlement and to end once and for all their disputes agreed on six conditions.’
Among the agreements reached by the city government and the organization which was approved by the court is that the rentals to be paid to the surface owners will be reckoned from the year 2007 when the City of Baguio assumed the management and operation of the Asin hydro plants, the amount of rentals shall be subject to an increase after three years herein, the amount of which shall be upon mutual agreement of the landowners and the operator of the Asin hydro plants and the rentals shall be payable to TNHALAI who in turn shall undertake to distribute the amount to the affected landowners.
The TNHALAI represented itself as having the mandate of all the affected landowners to enter into the aforesaid compromise agreement with the city government.
The signatories to the letter disclosed they were told that pursuant to the compromise agreement, their claims have been computed totalling to P2.6 million more or less as of the date of the signing of the said agreement more than three years ago.
According to them, the city accounting office had already segregated the said amount and that the same is ready for release but unfortunately, the same cannot be done unless the claim of the city government for damages against them in the said civil case have been negotiated and waived before the city council.
The group cited No. 6 of the compromise agreement that states ‘that the claims of the city for damages in Civil Case No. 6911-R shall be negotiated by the TNHALAI before the Sanggunaing Panlungsod of Baguio City.”
The group is optimistic that the members of the city council will waive the claims of the city for damages to put an end to the case. By Dexter A. See