BAGUIO CITY – Members of the Senate committee on government corporations and public enterprises underscored that the proposed law on the creation of the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay Development Authority (BLISTTDA) will have to be ratified by the constituents of the concerned local governments through a plebiscite after the law shall have been signed by the President.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate committee on government corporation and public enterprises, shared the view that once the law enacting the BLISTTDA shall become effective, it must be ratified by the constituents of the involved local governments through a plebiscite and that local governments who opt not to join the said body will be excluded from the same depending on the outcome of the plebiscite.
Senator Gordon said that the committee will consolidate the proposals of the various representatives of different sectors who attended the committee public hearing on the proposed bill held in Baguio before deciding on whether or not to have another hearing either in the city or in Metro Manila for the stakeholders to appreciate the final version of the proposed law.
“The proposed creation of BLISTTDA will be a game changer for all cities and urban centers in the country. It will also serve as a template for cities that want to replicate the said authority in their areas of jurisdiction,” Gordon stressed.
The senator reiterated the BLISTTDA bills will undergo the revisions to incorporate the inputs gathered by the committee during the public consultation to tailor-fit the needs of the local governments covered by the proposed authority.
According to him, one of the problems of the local governments addressed by the pending measure is resilience in dealing with situations that occur anytime to make it easier for volunteers and responders to react to the situation and save lives and properties from eminent danger.
Senator Gordon suggested that during the initial phase of the BLISTTDA implementation, the geographic coverage will the town of Bokod while the second phase will cover the entire Benguet province before expanding to include other provinces in the Cordillera.
He claimed he is in favour of having an initial three years of implementation of the BLISTTDA subject to fine-tuning to suit the needs of the local governments that will be included in the coverage of the authority and address planning issues on the development thrusts of the affected communities.
The lawmaker explained the proposed law is being crafted to allow the active involvement of different sectors in the planning, coordination, implementation and monitoring of the development programs and projects suitable to the prevailing situation in the concerned local governments and to strike a balance between development and the environment and culture.
By Dexter A. See