BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP-CAR) announced that an eight-storey cultural center and museum is expected to rise within a 1,000-square meter portion of the more than 5,000-square meter property of the Benguet-Ifugao-Bontoc-Apayao-Kalinga (BIBAK) property along Harrison Road to highlight the rich culture and traditions of the region that will serve as an added tourist destination right at the heart of the city.
NCIP-CAR Regional Director Roland Calde said that the plan to put up the cultural center and museum has been initially agreed upon by the members of the inter-agency committee, while the decision to put up a BIBAK dormitory is still being deliberated upon considering the rapid increase of students from different parts of the region who will not all be accommodated in the said lodging facility.
“We plan to recommend the inclusion of the budget for the cultural center and museum in our 2019 budget considering that the expenditures for our budget next year had already been finalized and approved by the House of Representatives that is why we will have difficulty in sourcing out the funds for the construction of the said structure,” Calde stressed.
Aside from the cultural center that will serve as the venue for the conduct of cultural performances and the museum that will serve as the custodian of important artifacts from the different parts of the region, the NCIP-CAR official said the 8-storey structure will include lodging facilities for the performing groups, conference facilities, parking allocations among others to help provide a permanent venue for the region’s rich culture and traditions.
According to him, the dilemma of the inter-agency committee in approving the construction of the BIBAK dormitory is the fact that it should provide adequate lodging facilities for the growing number of Cordillera students coming from the different parts of the region. One of the options being considered is for the agency to sustain the increase in the financial assistance extended by the agency to deserving students from the region wherein they could use a portion of their semestral allowance for lodging expenses.
While there is merit to the put-up of the BIBAK dormitory, Calde explained there are numerous issues and concerns that should be considered by the inter-agency committee, which is why the plan is being studied by the committee to be able to come up with the right decision on how to maximize utilization of the property.
The inter-agency committee on the BIBAK property is composed of Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, NCIP-CAR Regional Director Roland Calde and Regional Director Ralph Pablo of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
He expressed optimism that right after the dismantling of the more than 58 illegal structures that were erected on various portions of the property the committee will be able to agree on the master development plan for the whole area, which will be submitted to the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera for approval and eventual implementation by the NCIP-CAR as the assigned caretaker of the property.
By Dexter A. See