LA TRINIDAD, Benguet– The municipal government will be conducting a municipal-wide consultations on the proposed bills in Congress that seek to establish the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay Development Authority (BLISTTDA) to gather the sentiments of the various sectors to solidify the local government’s position whether or not to eventually support the passage of the measure.
Mayor Romeo Salda said that the consultations will be done on Thursday, January 3, 2019, 1:30 pm, at the second floor of the Municipal Hall.
The conduct of the municipal-wide consultations was an offshoot of the recent conduct of a public hearing by the Senate relative to the pending proposal to establish the BLISTTDA wherein Senator Richard Gordon acceded to the request of former Mayor Edna C. Tabanda that the matter should first be subjected to sincere and transparent consultations with the people in the affected municipalities.
“We want to involve our constituents in formalizing our stand on the creation of the BLISTTDA by getting the sentiments of our people so that we will not be blamed once there will be serious repercussions to the municipality once the proposed bill will be enacted into a law in the coming years,” Salda stressed.
The local chief executive extended the invitation to all sectors in the municipality to attend the scheduled consultations and share their insights, suggestions ad recommendations on the BLISTTDA for the consideration of the proponents and the lawmakers who will be crafting the final version of the law that is supposed to benefit all the involved local governments.
Local officials underscored that proponents of the BLISTTDA must remember that the town is a declared ancestral domain of indigenous peoples that is why the IPs deserve to be consulted on whatever legislations that will affect their domain pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA).
For her part, Tabanda called on local officials of other municipalities included in the BLISTTDA to conduct similar consultations in their areas of jurisdiction for them to be able to get the sentiments of their constituents whether or not they are in favour of their inclusion in the superbody and what are their suggestions and recommendations on how to improve the proposed law so that it will be for the greater interest of all the local governments involved and not to simply address the current urbanization problems of Baguio City.
Some of the sectors believe that the BLISTTDA is simply being used to pressure local governments in Benguet to absorb some of the major problems of Baguio City in the guise of development that will be introduced in their areas of jurisdiction.
The concept of Metro Baguio started way back over two decades ago when a European Union (EU) urban planning study recommended for the spread of development in areas outside Baguio city to contribute in significantly reducing the over development that Baguio City is currently experiencing.
Municipal officials expressed confidence that the results of the consultations will help them in formulating a definite stand on the issue which will be presented during the public hearing that will be conducted by the Senate in Baguio City on January 4, 2019.