Though both agreed to disagree on the issue of jurisdiction over Fort Bonifacio, Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano and Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay Jr. were one in calling for a ceasefire between their warring personnel on Monday.
“We both appeal to our people, our constituents: Let us not be carried away by our emotions. We are showing this morning that we, the leaders, are in agreement that violence is not the solution. We appeal to our employees: Let us not use force. We will not allow that,” Binay said in a joint press conference with Cayetano.
His sentiments were echoed by Cayetano who expressed optimism that the issue of police control over Fort Bonifacio would also be resolved soon.
“Now that the public has seen that we are in agreement over peace and order in the said area, the police will follow suit. Let us also leave them to discuss it among themselves. No one wants trouble,” she said.
The two officials sat down to discuss the escalating tension between their personnel during a 15-minute closed-door meeting held at Cayetano’s office. This was after Binay made a surprise visit to the Taguig City Hall a day after Cayetano reached out to him and called for a truce.
The ties between the two local governments have been strained lately following the Court of Appeals’ ruling on July 30 to award jurisdiction over seven barangays (villages)—including the revenue-rich Bonifacio Global City (BGC)—to Makati City.
During their brief meeting, both mayors agreed to leave the issue of jurisdiction over the disputed area to the courts.
“Mayor Lani and I have agreed that we will always disagree on that so we’ve already accepted the fact that the case is in the Court of Appeals and we will respect each other’s decision or any relief to be taken by our lawyers,” Binay said.
At least three clashes have occurred in the disputed area between the two cities’ personnel since the July 30 ruling, leading to both sides threatening to file charges against the other.
On this, Binay commented: “We agreed that cases filed by Makati would go on and those that would be filed or had been filed by Taguig would also be allowed to take their natural course.”
He added that during their discussion, he broached to Cayetano a revenue-sharing scheme or the possibility of Taguig dropping its claim to the disputed area in exchange for Makati imposing a tax moratorium in BGC for several years.
Cayetano, however, seemed cool to the idea although she admitted that she had yet to discuss the offer with other officials. “This is something that can’t be resolved in a meeting. This is something that Taguig will not immediately accept because our council and our legal team have a strong argument,” was all she had to say on the matter.
Binay, meanwhile, said that at the end of the day, “what is important here is that the lines of communication are open,” adding that he and Cayetano had exchanged phone numbers to ensure that they keep in touch.
“We are thankful that finally, this issue has been settled. I assure the public [that] there will be no more tension in Fort Bonifacio,” Cayetano told the media.
Originally posted: 6:09 pm | Monday, September 9th, 2013