Officials and residents of the Municipality of Itogon support the BLISTT agenda. They however lament the slow progress in implementing the agenda which was conceptualized twenty years ago.
This was the general sentiment expressed during the BLISTT local consultation conducted on March 19, 2014 at the Alejo Pacalso Gymasium of Itogon, Benguet. Initiated by the Municipality of Itogon led by Mayor Victorio Palangdan, the consultation was attended by Itogon’s municipal and barangay officials and NGO and CSO representatives. Also present were Sablan Mayor Arthur Baldo, Tuba Mayor Florencio Bentrez, Tublay Mayor Ruben Paoad, and NEDA Regional Director Milagros Rimando.
Recent discussions on the BLISTT reveal that among the challenges that slowed down the progress of past BLISTT initiatives are: (1) lack of funds (that would have implemented the 1994 BLIST Urban Plan), (2) need for an effective governance mechanism that is acceptable to the BLISTT stakeholders; and (3) the lack of a BLISTT champion to shepherd the agenda beyond the tenure of the local chief executives.
The BLISTT agenda was revitalized in 2012, with the RDC-CAR adopting it as a banner project. This time, the political support of the LGU officials as manifested in the signing of the 2014 BLISTT Memorandum of Agreement holds promise for better implementation.
The conduct of the BLISTT local consultations is part of the BLISTT Council’s plan to inform and get the BLISTT communities views on the BLISTT agenda. Sablan is next to conduct its local consultation in March 25, followed by Baguio in March 26, Tuba in April 4, 2014 and Tublay in April 8. La Trinidad is yet to finalize its local consultation date.
by Freda Toyoken, NEDA-CAR