BAGUIO CITY – “Makapasangit” (makes ones cry), is the one word most used by personnel of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Cordillera office, as they now have to look for another place to set up their office after they being advised by Malacañang that their office is already “weak” and needs refurbishing.
In the letter signed by Malacañang’s Deputy Secretary Rizalina N. Justol pertaining to the Lualhati guest house located within the Mansion House Complex, and citing the findings of the preliminary assessment of the Office of the President – Property Inventory Team, the building is considered dilapidated and, therefore, needs improvements – in other words, a major renovation.
The structure is fronting the Baguio Mansion House, the summer presidential palace.
“Thus, we are planning to renovate the guest house, and consequently, to convert it to be used as the new cottage of the Executive Secretary for easy access to the Baguio Mansion House,” the letter read. Justol stated that the new building will also be used as venue for meetings, forums and other official functions.
PIA Cordillera was advised through PIA Director General Harold E. Clavite to immediately turn over the property.
In his Facebook page, an officer of the PIA Cordillera office expressed his sadness over the pending demolition of their office.
He said that their agency has been there since 2005 and, since then, served under the administrations of then Presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Benigno III and, now, Rodrigo Duterte.
In a conversation with the members of the Baguio media, he said that the regional office has become a place of convivial meeting place not only of journalists in Baguio and other parts of the Cordillera region but also the media coming from different parts of the country.
He said it has also served as a venue for countless “Kapihan” (Press Conferences) organized by the Cordillera Association of Regional Executives (CARE), the Baguio Correspondent and Broadcasters Club (BCBC) and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) with different government agencies and non-government organizations.
Meanwhile, the BCBC passed a resolution expressing concern regarding the other possible impacts of the planned renovation to some of the structures and installations in the compound of the PIA Cordillera.
The regional news agency houses two Cordillera indigenous huts and a Dap-ay (Igorot traditional community center), serving as a solidarity site and ritual gathering area for the media, their partners and other sectors of the society. “’Developing’ the area will diminish the historical value of the structure,” the biggest media organization in the Cordillera stated.