Baguio Latest News

ARD Abbas faces more complaints from vehicle owners

BAGUIO CITY  – Complaints continue to pile up against embattled assistant regional Director Mahammad Naser Abbas of the Cordillera office of the Department of Transportation (DOTr-CAR) following the execution of complaint affidavits by a number of vehicle owners regarding his having collected money from them in the guise of being the one to remit their fines to the concerned office for their purported violations but actually did not remit the same upon verification.


In a 2-page affidavit, Reynaldo Bacoco, of legal age and resident of Km. 4 Asin Road, Baguio City, and an officer of the federation of van services whose route of operation covers the Cordillera Administrative Region and the neighboring areas of Regions I, II and II, stated that sometime in the morning of March 28, 2018, an operator of a UV express service called and informed him that his motor vehicle with plat number ABF-3508 which was then driven by a certain Hilario Marcelo along Kennon road was allegedly flagged down and apprehended by Abbas.

Bacoco claimed that the operator asked his assistance considering that they have all the pertinent documents and authority to operate a UV express service and then he subsequently called the driver who informed him that the said vehicle has been impounded by Abbas at the Baguio Athletic Bowl compound and that the embattled DOTr-CAR official reportedly issued a temporary operator’s permit to the driver.

He reportedly proceeded to the Baguio Athletic Bowl to see what happened and upon arrival in the place, Abbas was still there so he approached him and talked to the official about the apprehension, explaining that the impounded vehicle has the appropriate documents for it to operate.

While conversing with Abbas, Bacoco revealed that Samuel Fernandez, an officer of a UV association also arrived to assist an operator whose vehicle as also apprehended by Abbas.

Both Bacoco and Fernandez appealed to Abbas regarding the impounded vehicles considering the necessity of the same to operate considering the high passenger demand at that time because it was then the Holy Week, however, Abbas allegedly refused to adhere to their representations and told them to talk to him at his office at the DOTr-CAR located in the Post office area.

Bacoco and Fernandez then went to the office of Abbas as ordered by the latter but despite having to wait for quite some time, the said official filed to meet with them.

In the afternoon of the same day, Abbas called them and directed them to seem him at his office later in the afternoon, thus, they went to the office of Abbas for the appointment.

Armed with the documents, the duo appealed to Abbas and after a while, Abbas stated that as his way of helping them regarding the apprehended vehicles, he will downgrade his citations or charges to another violation and from colorum violation as cited in the temporary operator’s permit, he agreed and decided on the lower violation of failure to carry the certificate of public convenience (CPC) as the alleged violations committed.

The affiants claimed that Abbas then told them that if they wanted and so as to facilitate payment as it was already around 4:30 pm that day and near closing time of their office, they could just leave the payment of the fines or penalties in the amount of P5,000 each with him.

Both individuals allegedly handed P5,000 each to the secretary of Abbas as directed by Abbas for the payment of the violations in behalf of the operators that they were assisting and in turn, the secretary recorded in her logbook an acknowledgement and receipt of the amounts they gave.

The said individuals and Abbas then proceeded to the Baguio Athletic Bowl where the latter released the motor vehicles but upon verification, they eventually learned that the apprehension for CPC not carried were not transmitted to the adjudication office and that the penalty for the said violations were not actually paid despite having given the amounts of P5,000 each to Abbas for the payment of the fine for the said apprehension.

In a separate 2page affidavit, Juliet Ligawen and Samuel Fernandez, both operators of UV expressed services authorized to operate along the route Baguio City to Cabanatuan City and vice versa, stated that in the morning of March 28, 2018 along Kennon road, a UV express service bearing license plate number AYU-341 which was operated by Ligawen was the operator and driven by a certain Guillermo Cayat was flagged down and apprehended by Abbas.

Ligawen then called Fernandez, her fellow UV express service operator and an officer of their association, asking for assistance regarding the matter and that she was adamant on the apprehension considering that the said UV express service was duly registered and was operating with a valid franchise.

Fernandez, after being informed about the apprehension made by Abbas immediately called up the driver who informed him that he was apprehended and Abbas was on the process of impounding the vehicle at the Baguio Athletic Bowl compound and that he immediately proceeded to the area.

Upon arrival in the place, he averred that Abbas already confiscated the driver’s license of the driver and impounded the motor vehicle and subsequently issued a temporary operator’s permit to the driver.

Fernandez respectfully asked Abbas why was the driver apprehended when the vehicle was operated based on a valid francise and showed him the documents that was in the possession of the driver, however, Abbas alleged that the driver failed to show the said documents when he was apprehended but the driver insisted that he was carrying all the proper documents as he always does and that he showed the same to Abbas which the latter denied.

Abbas allegedly refused to give in to the appeal of Fernandez and instead instructed him to talk to the official in his office.

Fernandez confirmed the earlier claim of Bacoco that they went to the office of Abbas but they were able to eventually talk to him where he intimated that he will help them by lowering the violation to CPC not carried having a fine of P5,000 which they eventually paid.

Ironically, upon verification, the said apprehension was never submitted by Abbas to the adjudication office and the corresponding penalty was not actually paid despite having given the prescribed amount.

It can be recalled that Abbas, in a local radio interview, said that all accusations against him are unfounded.



Baguio Tourist Attractions

Marker of the Philippine Commission's First Session in Baguio

This is the site of the building where the members of the Philippine Commission met from April 22 to June 11, 1904 and officially initiated the use of Baguio as the Philippine Summer Capital. The Commission was composed of Governor General Luke Wright, president, and Commissioners Henry Ide, Dean C. Worcester, T Padre Tavera, Benito Legarda, Jose de Luzuriaga, James Smith and Cameron Forbes.

Kennon Road and its Builder

Tourist-Spots-in-BaguioNamed after Col. Lyman W. Kennon, who was the final builder of the famous Benguet road, with the help of the industrious Cordillerans and foreign workers. Kennon road is the shortest and the most scenic highway linking Baguio and the lowlands. The lion's head can be found along the way. Final construction of this road was finished in 1903. Col. L. Kennon first ascended to Baguio in 1905. Of the original workers, the Igorots and Japanese were admired for their trustworthiness and willingness to work. Kennon was closed to traffic after the July 16, 1990 earthquake. It is now open to light vehicles only.

Diplomat Hotel on Dominican Hill

diplomatIn May 1911, the councils of the Province of the Dominican Order voted to construct a vacation house in Baguio on a 17-hectare property they had acquired when the American authorities were encouraging people to come here. Actual work started in 1913 under Fr. Roque Ruano and the building was inaugurated on May 23, 1925. To take advantage of the tax exemptions a school called Collegio del Santissimo Rosario was opened in June 1915 but due to the very small enrollment the school closed in 1917, reverting the building to the original vacation house. During WWII refugees first occupied it. Later the Japanese Army Liberation Forces had to bomb out the refugees from the buildings. The five hits left very extensive damage and for a time it was left unrepaired. Reconstruction was started in 1947 and completed in 1948 with most of its pre-war grandeur and beauty restored. In 1973, Diplomat Hotels, Inc. acquired ownership, remodeled the interior into a 33-bedroom hotel with modern facilities, but retained the unique and distinct personality of the Dominican Hill. In the 80's the hotel ceased operations due to the death of one of its majority stockholders. Plans are underway to develop this historical religious landmark into a tourist resort.

Philippine Military Academy

PMAThe Philippine Commission promulgated Act No. 175, which became the basis for the creation of the Philippine Constabulary in August 8, 1905. The school for the officers of the constabulary was first located in Sta. Lucia Barracks in Manila. Later in 1908, it was relocated in Baguio on the site known as Constabulary Hill later renamed Camp Henry T. Allen, in honor of the first chief of the Philippine Constabulary. With the passage of the Jones Law, the school was later changed to "Academy for Officers of the Philippine Constabulary" with a two-year curriculum. In 1908, the course was raised to collegiate level and later lengthened to three years with class 1938 as having the last graduates of that course. When the commonwealth government was established in 1935, the Philippine Military Academy was created in place of the Philippine Constabulary Academy. Under the National Defense Act, the PMA was authorized to maintain cadet strength of 350. Because of increased population, the academy transferred to Teachers Camp in June 1936 where it remained until WWII broke out. After the war the PMA headquarters was temporarily relocated at Camp Murphy and later at Alabang, while Camp Allen was being rehabilitated. Since May 1950 the Philippine Military Academy has found its permanent home at Fort del Pilar, Loakan, Baguio City.

The Mansion

The-Mansion-Baguio-CityThis imposing and majestic mansion has a long list of Filipino Presidents and American governor-generals. It has elegantly structured building and guesthouse. Its gate is patterned after that of London's Buckingham Palace. The Mansion has also been the site of several international conferences and a working office of the President of the Philippines during his visits to the City.

Camp John Hay

camp-john-hay-amphitheaterThis former American recreational facility is currently undergoing development as a world class resort. As of March 27, 1999, the golf course was completed and is now open, The skating rink, picnic area, and the mini golf course at the Scout Hill area are likewise open.

Asin Hot Spring

Located 16 kilometers northwest of Baguio, the resort's main feature is a swimming pool surrounded by thermal springs, lush vegetation and several hanging bridges. It is an ideal respite. This is now eyed to be redeveloped into a tourism resort along with the adjoining tourist attractions of Tuba and Baguio.

Bell Church

The-Bell-Church-of-Baguio-CityThis cluster of temples is located on the border of Baguio City and Trinidad Valley. Its exotic oriental architecture, pagodas roof, ornate gateway, dragon ornaments and Buddha - guarded windows gaze from atop a hill. The Bell Temple priest practices a mixture of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Christianity. One may even try having his fortune told.

Burnham Park

Burnham-Park-BaguioIt is the oldest of all Baguio parks. One can unwind from the tension of the day-to-day bustle by biking, skating or simply reflecting on the day's experiences amid a soothing garden backdrop of colorful flowers. It is thickly wooded and is a great place to have picnics and concerts. There are tennis and basketball courts, a football field, athletic oval and an orchidarium.

Mines View Park

Mines-View-Park-Baguio-CityAppropriately named for its breathtaking view of Benguet's mountain ranges where gold, silver and other ores were once quarried. There are souvenir shops around the park offering such items as woodcarvings, woven cloth, ashtrays, shell products and other curio items.

Wright Park

It is sometimes mistakenly called "Ride Park" by some that identify this pine tree park reserve for kiddy horse rides. A long stairway leads to the "Pool of the Pines", a 100 meter long pool of water lined on both sides by the famous Baguio towering pine.