By Michael G. Umaming
The Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, Tublay (BLISTT) Area Development can learn one or two from the Metro-Naga Development Council (MNDC), an alliance of 15 Local Government Units (LGU) that include Naga City.
A lesson that made an impression to BLISTT participants including three mayors during a forum with MNDC at the Naga City Hall last December 4, 2012 was the “Big Brother” concept, a leadership that shows concern beyond one’s political boundary.
“Big Brother” was first demonstrated by the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo who was mayor of Naga City when he pushed for the organization of the MNDC in 1993 with the slogan “Together, We Can Do Better” despite a “political atmosphere” that accordingly saw other things from the efforts.
“Naga City had to take the cudgels for MNDC including the financing of its initial operations – it had to do a lot of groundworking with the other towns for them to join the alliance,” said Melissa Bulaong, an employee of Naga who has spent time with MNDC.
“Robredo’s skill in resource generation became apparent with the council. Funds generated were mostly channeled to the poorer towns,” Bulaong said.
“No wonder Robredo was well loved,” said mayor Greg Abalos of La Trinidad.
On the MNDC itself, Abalos said it is not a perfect council given some concerns it still has to address. “But it gave me the confidence that indeed LGUs can come together with the thought that each needs the others for the welfare of their communities,” he said.
Mayor Ruben Paoad of Tublay sees Baguio Cityto be in the best position to play Big Brother for BLISTT given its resources and level of development.
Mayor Arthur Baldo of Sablan agrees. He thinks it is probably Baguiowhich will benefit most from BLISTT given the “urban blight” it is currently facing.