Baguio VM bets vow to ‘diffuse’ dev’t to neighboring towns

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BAGUIO CITY – Development projects in Benguet should no longer be concentrated in Baguio City and instead be distributed among its neighboring towns.

This was the shared sentiment of three of the vice mayoral candidates in Baguio City – reelectionist Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan, and councilors Michael Lawana and Joel Alangsab – during the Baguio Leaders Forum at the summer capital on Tuesday.

Olowan noted that Baguio was built to accommodate only 25,000 people and that it would be best to rechannel development to neighboring La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay, collectively known as LISTT.

“All development should focus on the LISTT area and Baguio should be a partner. We should plan to include the mayors and officials of LISTT areas. We can no longer tolerate it. Otherwise, we are going towards urban decay which is already happening,” Olowan said.

He said he supports a pending measure seeking to formally create the BLISTT (Baguio plus LISTT) area.

“Let us stop the construction of big buildings and putting up subdivisions. They should be done outside the city for the development also of the neighboring towns,’ he said.

Meanwhile, Lawana, who is also Barangay Captains Federation president, said the city council has an important role to play in preventing the city from going toward “human and environmental decay.”

“The most important thing is in the legislative body, which is the key because we approve the ordinances like the city’s land-use plan, the zoning ordinance which the Executive only implements. We need to update our ordinance to conform to the call of the time,” Lawana said.

Alangsab, who is also the current chairman of the Committee on Health at the city council, said diffusing development in the neighboring towns is the way to go, considering the limited space in the country’s summer capital.

He said businesses, educational institutions, health services, and socialized housing projects need not be concentrated in the central business district.

Alangsab said there is an existing ordinance strengthening district health centers that cater to Baguio’s 128 villages.

“We need to finance and give funds to further equip the health centers so that medical services can be availed by the residents without the need to go to the city’s center,” he said.

Several years ago, mayors of the BLISTT formed the BLISTT governing council with the mayor of Baguio City as the head.

The creation was to bring together executives of the neighboring towns to help address issues that are not confined to the summer capital but extend to the jurisdiction of the LISTT towns in Benguet. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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