Issue of March 11, 2018
     
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BLISTTDA bill amended, to be reviewed in Senate – Go
by Ofelia C. Empian

The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading the amended House Bill 6974 or the “Act Creating the Baguio City, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay Development Authority.”

Previously filed as House Bill 1554, author Baguio Rep. Mark Go said they have already considered the appeal of the various local government units within the BLISTT area in the amended bill.

Earlier, members of the BLISTT towns particularly Itogon, Tublay, and La Trinidad backed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Benguet have appealed for the removal of one of the bill’s provisions that states one of BLISTTDA’s funding sources shall come from the five percent net of the internal revenue allotment per town and the city.

“The budget will now be in the form of financial contribution from the towns or technical support,” Go said.

In the amended bill, the sources of funds and the operating budget of the BLISTTDA shall primarily be included in the annual general appropriations act. Also, BLISTTDA is “empowered to levy fines and impose fees and charges for various services rendered.”

Further, the operations of the BLISTTDA will be supported through financial contributions or technical assistance from member LGUs, national government agencies and government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), the private sector, and other local and international organizations in the form of grants, donations, contributions, payments, penalties, fees, and charges.

Go’s bill intends to centralize and oversee the development efforts and initiatives that deal with the challenges and problems confronting Baguio and its nearby municipalities through the creation of the BLISTT Development Authority, patterned after the Metro Manila Development Authority.

BLISTTDA shall exercise management, regulatory and supervisory authority and shall include services of 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; pollution control and public safety and order.

“Once enacted into law, The BLISTT Development Authority will be a government entity endowed with corporate powers that will be responsible for planning and implementing basic area-wide services without diminution of the autonomy of the LGUs concerning purely local matters,” Go said.

The solon added he is confident that the bill, also sponsored by Sen. Ralph Recto, will soon be signed into law. The bill will be transmitted to the Senate for its consideration and approval.


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