For more organized and coordinated efforts towards the development of the Baguio City, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay (BLISTT) area, and in response to the popular clamor expressed during the BLISTT Action Agenda Workshop conducted in March this year, Baguio City Congressman Mark Go filed a bill seeking to create the BLISTT Development Authority (BLISTT DA).

HB 1554 was presented by Congressman Go to the BLISTT Governing Council during the Council’s 4th quarter meeting conducted on November 11, 2016 at the RDC Hall, NEDA-CAR, Baguio City. It was the Council’s first meeting with the newly elected BLISTT local chief executives (LCEs).

According to the Congressman, “the BLISTT DA will perform planning, monitoring and coordinative functions, while also exercising regulatory and supervisory authority over the delivery of area-wide services within the city and five municipalities.” The bill, he said, will not result to the diminution of the autonomy of the LGUs in matters concerning purely local matters.

Congressman Go also explained that HB 1554 provides that the scope of the BLISTT DA’S functions shall cover those services which have a wide impact, transcend local political boundaries, and entail huge expenditures such that it would not be viable for the said services to be provided by the individual LGUs. These services include Development Planning; Urban Renewal, Land Use Planning and Housing and Shelter Formulation; Transport and Traffic Management; Solid Waste Disposal and Management; Flood Control and Sewerage Management; Water Resource System; Health and Sanitation, and Pollution Control; and Public Safety and Order.

During the meeting, it was agreed that the concerned LGUs and the member-agencies of the BLISTT Council shall review the bill, provide their inputs and suggestions for its enhancement, and submit them to the Office of the Congressman at the soonest possible time. The enhanced bill shall then be submitted to Senators Franklin Drilon and Peter Cayetano for possible co-sponsorship.

It may be remembered that in 2012, the Cordillera Regional Development Council adopted as a strategy and a flagship project the revitalization of the BLISTT to facilitate the physical and socioeconomic growth in the area and the region as a whole. Shortly after this, the BLISTT Council was created with the following as members: the LCEs of the BLISTT city and five municipalities, and representatives of regional line agencies which include DILG, NCIP, DTI, DENR, DOT and DPWH. The Council is presently headed by Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan. NEDA serves as the Secretariat.

(16 November 2016)