Know your Baguio City’s congressional candidate

BAGUIO. Candidates for the lone congressional district of Baguio City present their platforms and programs during the Baguio Pulse Check 2019 Candidates Forum at People's Park. Present were (L-R) incumbent Congressman Mark Go, former city mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr., incumbent Mayor Mauricio Domogan, independent candidate Rafael Wasan, and former representative Nicasio Aliping Jr. The forum was initiated by the IBP Baguio Benguet Chapter, DILG, Comelec PIA and the I Vote Good of the Catholic Church. (Redjie Melvic Cawis)

FOR the remaining weeks leading to the May 13, 2019 midterm elections, SunStar Baguio will be coming out with stories on top candidates in the local posts.

SunStar Baguio will kick off with the congressional candidates of Baguio City down to the vice mayoralty candidates.

Candidates in Benguet gunning for the congressional, gubernatorial, and vice-gubernatorial posts will also be featured in the coming days.

Nicasio Aliping Jr.

Former Baguio City Representative Nicasio Aliping Jr. is unfazed of his alleged conviction by the Supreme Court, which, according to him, misinformed many constituents.

Aliping said if he were convicted by the Supreme Court or any court for that matter, the Commission on Elections in the city should have not allowed him to file his Certificate of Candidacy for the congressional post.

“Allow me to state that I was never convicted, whoever is spreading that news is a black propaganda much more, fake news. The case that I am facing is still pending in the Regional Trial Court so as of this time, I was never convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude.”

He reiterated that all candidates have the privilege to file their COC provided he or she is not convicted of crime involving moral turpitude.

In running for second time as representative of Baguio City, Aliping pointed out priority legislations he will push at the Lower House as part of his platform of governance.

The former lawmaker’s platform of governance is one of honesty, integrity, transparency, and participatory, which is based on the fact that public office is a public trust.

“As far as our legislative agenda is concerned, our primary action would be that of a revision of our City Charter, creation of an autonomous region, and the funding of the several programs that is actually for the benefit of the people of Baguio which are educational, medical, transportation and livelihood assistance that will cater to our residents who have less in life to which we have to make sure that they have more in law,” Aliping said.

Aliping pointed out one important piece of national legislation, which he seeks to amend is excessive taxes on commodities vital to the people.

“We have to push for legislations national at that, for the amendment of the Train Law so as to stop the imposition of excise tax on gasoline and crude,” said the former legislator.

At the local scene, Aliping expressed his intention to help solve the existing problem of the city on garbage and traffic.

“We will be pushing for the establishment of the engineered sanitary landfill so as to address the garbage problem in our city. We will also need to create our own traffics management committee that will see and overlook the traffic problem in the City of Baguio so that in this way, we are really pushing for the establishment of the Metro Baguio Development Authority or the so called BLISTT Development Authority,” Aliping said.

Aliping assured his intention of pushing for the distribution of social pensions for barangay volunteers, health workers, and barangay officials, aside from creating a much needed watershed council in the city which will preserve and protect the remaining watersheds which are the main sources of water for Baguio City.

Aliping, who have provided medical, transport and financial assistance during his incumbency as Congressman vowed to continue this, aside from pushing for a legislation benefitting senior citizens and specific medical patients.

“We will also look into the concerns of our senior citizens because there has to be free medicines for them, aside from free dialysis and chemotherapy for patients who are longing for this medications. Considering that chemotherapy and dialysis is actually a situation where the family can no longer affair because of the continuous medication process,” Aliping added.

Reinaldo Bautista Jr.

Reinaldo or Peter Rey Bautista Jr. seeks a return in public office and would like to focus on a simple platform.

“Our plans must go beyond our needs today - they must prepare us for the challenges of tomorrow. No to band – aid quick fixes, yes to long-term, sustainable solutions! Let us pass on a beautiful Baguio to our children,” Bautista said.

Bautista underscores a deeper love for the environment.

“May we be reminded that we cannot afford to lose any more of our remaining forests in Baguio. Our lives depend on it. What we need is leadership that will not surrender the environment and the people’s welfare to greed and crass commercialism,” the former city mayor added.

Bautista said his focus will be to amend certain provisions of the Clean Air Act, particularly on the use of incineration for waste management.

“RA9003 also has to be amended to adopt a clustering of LGUs instead of each having their own we should cluster ex. Baguio City, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay (BLISTT).”

BLISTT is seen to connect the city to the neighboring areas of Benguet to spread development.

“Baguio has the means but not the land. Sablan may have the land but not the means. So the best is a sharing scheme. I also have a feeling that I may be the first congressman to revise the city charter knowing that my interests are only for Baguio being a Baguio boy,” Bautista said.

Bautista plans to make BLISTT the next economic zone. BLISTT is also seen to declog the city saying “in a compound where one or two are rich and live in luxury won't increase the value of the land but when all are economically stable it will be a given and more attractive to investors.”

“Being a banker and foundation president, I am not too inclined with PDAF. I am good in fund sourcing and also an expert in the PPP or private public partnership,” Bautista added.

Autonomy is also another way to improve the economy of the Cordilleras.

“Just like a cooperative money made will revolve only around the group. Cordillera can stand alone especially with agriculture, mining and tourism, those alone are already investor attractive.”

Mauricio Domogan

Incumbent Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan is seeking his second stint as the congressional representative of the country’s Summer Capital, with the objective of creating relevant, dynamic, fair and sustainable legislations in the Lower House.

To address the modern needs of Baguio City, Domogan will pursue to amend the City’s Charter previously vetoed by former President Benigno Aquino Jr. and which needs to be a relevant and up to date foundation for the city’s policies and procedures to land and resources management, among others.

“We seek to pass a legislation which would replace townsite sales application as mode of acquiring alienable public land with miscellaneous sales application or a direct sale to qualified applicants and occupants. A city prepared for calamities protects its residents, that is why we need to ensure that the city will get its funds for critical infrastructure projects,” Domogan said.

Areas to be funded under this include flood management programs such as flood mitigation structures, drainage and flood control systems. This, aside from a safe and reliable national road systems which will undergo preventive maintenance, rehabilitation and reconstruction, construction of bypass and diversion roads, and the construction and repair of various local evacuation and multipurpose centers.

Domogan has always been open to the establishment of the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay Development Authority provided it has its own clearly defined functions and streamlined to avoid another layer of bureaucracy and conflict.

On the regional front, the concurrent Regional Development and Peace and Order Council (RDC-RPOC) chairman has always been a committed advocate of autonomy for the Cordillera and vowed to actively pursue the refilling for an Autonomy Bill.

“We should allow the region to define its own policies and programs specific to its needs, garner its fair share from the national wealth tax coming from the mining sector, define its governance structure, and learn from the recently passed Bangsamoro Organic Law while finding for sections relevant to Cordilleras pursuit for autonomy,” he said.

The former Baguio City congressman is keen on protecting the workers and promoting their welfare through the establishment of workers compensation program under the work contingency insurance fund and the Philippine Workers Compensation Act of 2007 amending articles 166 to 208-A of PD 442.

“We should maintain the present provision on probationary employment and increase the government’s protection to them, provide for a flexibilization of their working time, mandate private business sectors to share 10 percent of its annual net profits to its employees and workers, continue national funding for livelihood programs, provide Barangay officials with life and accident insurance for a period of 20 years, and to file a bill giving honoraria to Sangguniang Kabataan kagawad volunteers,” the former lawmaker said.

On the protection of the environment, Domogan will push for the creation of a Department of Environment Protection and Sanitation Act, which will integrate various government agencies related to environmental protection and sanitation having a streamlined centralized body to create, maintain and implement government environmental protection agenda.

“We have to strengthen environmental programs like our Alay sa Kalinisan, Salaknib ti Waig, Busol Watershed protection, Clean Air Act and our City Regreening through our City Environment and Parks Management Office or CEPMO through national recognition and funding. We should also secure the necessary funding to augment city funds for better waste and sewage management policies and programs by acquiring effective technologies to address it,” he said.

On guaranteed access to quality education, Domogan will revive the Educational Financial Assistance Program to poor but deserving Baguio tertiary students, while go for the upgrading of the information technology tools to public schools through additional funding, and to seek funding for various sports and development programs and better infrastructure for sporting activities in Baguio.

On the issue of spurious land titles that have been processed in the city, Domogan, once back in Congress, promised to establish a fair land management policy that will oppose the granting of another period to validate 211 land titles if applicant is not the actual possessor of the land, exclude certain portions of Forbes Park Reservation Parcel no.III and declaring it open for disposition under provisions of RA 73 to qualified applicants.

“We have to re-classify and segregate the Mining Reservation areas in Gibraltar Mines View, Loakan-Apugan, Atok Trail and Kias as alienable and disposable public lands and sell them to qualified applicants, amend P.D.705 or the revised Forestry Code of the Philippines to improve the provision about the 18 degree slope disqualification for conversion of public domain to alienable and disposal lands,” he said.

Once back in Congress, Domogan will also pass legislations pertaining to better access to health facilities, streamlining the water resources management, pursue fair fuel for all, enhance safety and security or our borders in the country, acknowledge our centenarians, streamline government processes, and to engage himself with national issues being a dynamic leader.

Mark Go

Businessman-turned-politician Mark Go seeks his second term as Baguio representative.

Go, in his stint in Congress, boasts of a complete and punctual attendance in all plenary sessions, authoring 52 Bills, five resolutions with six bills signed into law and nine bills in the Senate. Two bills are now up for third reading, 11 in the committee level, and 26 on first reading.

He has also co-authored 56 bills with 16 signed into law and delivered four privileged speeches.

Go is pushing for the Baguio City, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay Development Authority (BLISTTDA) and says not one area will be sole receivers of its promised merits, stressing it will be an approach to holistic development and spur creative economies.

Go believes the move will set into place development in Baguio and the neighboring towns as BLISTTDA will exercise management, regulatory and supervisory authority and will include services of development planning, urban renewal, land use planning, 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.

In his bid for another term, Go will present a 10-point agenda:

* Continue promoting and practicing a leadership of competence and integrity.

* Enhance scholarship programs for private college education and state technical vocational students.

* Reduce unemployment, improve company and employee productivity and implement success sharing programs.

* Provide reasonable and equitable compensation to barangay officials and employees, BNS, BNAO, Lupon, tanod, baranhgay health and daycare workers.

* Restore, rehabilitate and develop city heritage parks, historical sites and other tourist attractions as a component to making Baguio a premier city.

* Address city land, housing, traffic, garbage, waterways and sewer problems.

* Clean up unsightly public utility cables and wires for cleaner, safer and brighter streets.

* Rehabilitate, develop and improve barangay roads to connect barangays to business centers resulting to more business opportunities and socio economic development.

* Develop and enhance youth entrepreneurial skills and competencies.

* Institute measure to lower down fuel price in Baguio and other provinces.

Rafael Wasan

Rafael Wasan has always been critical in spouting for an autonomous region for the Cordillera to which his campaign in running for the congressional position is focused on.

His legislative priority is anchored on not only having an autonomous region for the Cordillera, but even a federal state.

“I only have one legislative thing to be passed into law and that is for the welfare and happiness of all Cordilleran’s including Baguio City. If that is the realization or that is the legislation of a Cordillera Autonomous Region into law, it is for us to be an autonomous region and everything will be just solved nicely by the people, not the government but by the people and for the people who made it and not other government who imposes it to us,” Wasan said.

When asked about the possible investment to improve business in Baguio City, Wasan pointed out the importance of the development process by investing in proper education.

“It does not only mean the universities which we serve, that is nothing, it’s ordinary like ABCDE-123 which is too abstract. The physical-mental-spiritual position of the individual collective people of Baguio should be developed. We should expand the development not only in Baguio but BLISTT which is very good. But the entire Cordillera is part and parcel of Baguio and same is true with Baguio as part and parcel of the Cordillera that is why development should spread out so that the city will not be overburdened,” Wasan said.

Wasan reiterated the importance of protecting areas in the city there lays too many problems that are intertwined.

“All lands in Baguio are titled when in fact it is a public forest. But there is corruption there, at the DENR, DPWH, LTO and almost all agencies of government is corrupt,” he said.

His stance against corruption is evident, to which he considers this as the number one enemy of the people of Baguio. This, he said, is the reality and there should be no debate.

“This cannot be solved by one person in power, corruption is the enemy. Now, how do we confront this corruption in order to really advance these nice programs that we are having? There should be a reconstruction of the collective psychology of the people. There is a narrow mindedness concept of development, it is to materialistic,” Wasan said.

But what does he foresee Baguio to be in the coming years with issues confronting the city.

“Let us make Baguio a crown jewel of tourism, education, cultural environment and economic prosperity. We are now presently structuring the Federal State of the Cordillera starting here in Baguio City. We are now creating different chapters at the barangay to know the problem of the people because we need to know their problem to be able to solve it,” added Wasan.

“There is corruption everywhere, even in the House of Congress and Senate that is why I will abolish Congress to get rid of corruption,” he added.


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