TARLAC CITY —Unable to resolve the issue at their level, the sangguniang panlalawigan of Tarlac and Pampanga yesterday agreed to elevate to a “higher court” the boundary dispute between Bamban and Mabalacat towns over Barangay Calumpang, an Aeta community at the Sacobia area.
Bamban in Tarlac and Mabalacat in Pampanga are both claiming jurisdictional rights over Barangay Calumpang, which lies along their boundaries.
In a joint session held inside the Tarlac capitol building here, the second since the boundary dispute flared up anew in 2007, the SP members from both provinces also “laid on the table” an earlier proposal to create a “Bamban-Mabalacat boundary dispute committee.”
“Laying the motion on the table means the provincial boards are not taking action on the motion for an indefinite period of time, which in effect means disapproval,” said Tarlac Board Member Pearl Angeli Erguiza-Pacada.
Pampanga Board Member Cris Garbo said whatever recommendations the proposed committee would make, whether favoring one or the other, would only raise opposition from the disadvantaged party.
It would be an “exercise in futility,” the board members agreed.
Also, Josefina Castilla-Go, director for Central Luzon of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), said the DILG, which was being proposed to chair the dispute committee, said that “in the event that the provincial boards decide not to constitute the committee, we will always be at your back to support you in your quest to resolve this issue.”
Having decided to reject the proposal for the creation of a committee for the boundary dispute and to simply raise the issue to a “higher court,” the provincial board members were faced with the question of which court to file the case—in Tarlac or in Pampanga.
Tarlac Vice Gov. Marcelino Aganon, who presided the joint session with Pampanga Vice Gov. Joseller Guiao, said the “first court to take cognizance of the case will have jurisdiction to the exclusion of the other court.”
As a result, there is now a race between Bamban and Mabalacat to file the case in their “home courts.”
“As soon as they get a copy of the resolution of the joint provincial boards, these two contending municipalities would rush to file their case,” Pacada said.