House oks bill to boost Benguet socio-eco development

Social, economic and political development in Benguet province is expected to accelerate soon after the House of Representatives, voting 225-0 without abstention, approved on third and final reading House Bill 6974 seeking to create the Baguio City, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay Development Authority (BLISTTDA).

The BLISTTDA creation aims to ensure the efficient and effective planning, supervision, and coordination of essential basic services in Benguet.

The BLISTTDA is envisioned to serve as the platform to hasten social, economic and political development in the area by managing the component LGUs to respond to common developmental challenges through unified, effective, and economically efficient programs and undertakings.

For one, the BLISTTDA shall set the policies concerning the worsening traffic situation in the Benguet province particularly in Baguio City, wherein coordination, regulation and implementation of all programs and projects shall be centralized. It shall establish a Traffic Operation Center that shall install and administer a single ticketing system, fix, impose, and collect fines and penalties for all kinds of violations of traffic rules and regulations.

Also, the BLISTTDA shall have the power to formulate policies on Urban Renewal, Land Use Planning, Housing and Shelter formulation; Solid Waste Disposal and Management; Flood Control and Sewerage Management; Water Resource System; Health Sanitation and Pollution Control; and Public Order and Safety.

It shall also be empowered to levy fines and impose fees and charges for various services rendered, and handle financial matters such as grants, donations, contributions, payments, penalties, fees and charges. However, its operating budget shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).

A governing board shall be created composed of the Governor of the Province of Benguet, the congressional Representatives of Baguio and Benguet and the municipalities of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay.

The bill is authored by Rep. Mark Go, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, Reps. Ronald Cosalan, Maximo Dalog, Pablo Ortega, Lourdes Aggabao, Deputy Speaker Eric Singson, Baby Aline Vargas-Alfonso, Jesus Celeste, Rodolfo Albano III, Leopoldo Bataoil, Ana Cristina Siquian Go, Allen Jesse Mangaoang, Karlo Alexei Nograles, Luisa Lloren Cuaresma, Salvador Belaro, Jr., Eugene Michael De Vera, and Jesus Nonato Sacdalan, among others.