Pangasinan, Benguet tug-of-war over sitio where Danding Cojuangco’s Northern Cement operates
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) has thrown its all-out support to the municipality of Sison, Pangasinan asserting its jurisdiction over Sitio Saguitlang in Barangay Labayug, Sison being claimed by the municipality of Tuba, Benguet.
In a resolution passed during its regular session on Monday, the Pangasinan SP endorsed and expressed its support to the assertion made by the local government of Sison that Sitio Saguitlang in Barangay Labayug, was part of its territorial jurisdiction.
At the heart of the dispute is the fees and taxes to be collected from Sition Saguitlang’s biggest business company, Northern Cement Corp. of bilyonaryo Danding Cojuangco.
Fifth District Board Member Rosary Gracia Perez-Tababa, sponsor of the resolution, admitted that the long unresolved boundary dispute between Sison, Pangasinan and Tuba, Benguet heated up anew when the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Tuba passed a resolution requesting proper government agencies “to deliver its share in the utilization of natural resources in its area by the Northern Cement Corporation (NCC).”
In response to the Tuba resolution, the SB of Sison has passed its own Resolution No. 17-066 strongly emphasizing that Sitio Saguitlang was a territorial and administrative portion of Barangay Labayug, a distinct and lawfully mandated barangay of Sison.
Sison Mayor Danilo Uy, maintaining that Sitio Saguitlang is part of his town, has earlier appealed for support from the SP against the claim of Tuba, Benguet.
Tababa said Sitio Saguitlang where NCC is conducting its extraction activity covered 1,560 hectares.
Since it started its operations 50 years ago, the company has been paying extraction fees, real property taxes and mining taxes yearly to Sison town.
In sponsoring the measure, Tababa said that NCC has recognized for half a century that the area (Sitio Saguitlang) was within the territorial jurisdiction of Pangasinan and not Benguet. (PNA)