TACLOBAN City Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin remained hopeful of a “united” 14th City Council after their inaugural session at the Legislative Building last July 3 was reportedly delayed for about two hours.
“Sayang! We failed to seize the moment to become a united sanggunian. But I’m still hoping that we will be able to rise above and beyond our political differences,” Yaokasin told SunStar Philippines.
However, as the session went on, Yaokasin said they were able to adopt its internal rules and elect the City Council officers and the chairmanships of the different legislative committees.
“Finally, all SP (City Council) members, except for the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation President and the Liga ng mga Barangays President, delivered their inaugural speeches -- thanking their supporters and sharing their visions, accomplishments and advocacies for a better Tacloban,” said Yaokasin.
The election of chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of senior citizens, retirees, and persons with disability (PWDs), ways and means, and the livelihood and cooperatives committees have been deferred for the next session.
“So proud of the 14th Sanggunian Panlungsod...with humility and statesmanship, setting aside personal pride and ego, we were finally able to settle the SP leadership positions and committee chairmanships. We all committed to work hard and work together for the betterment of our city,” Yaokasin later said after the last week’s session.
In his inaugural speech, Yaokasin said: "Let us act like true leaders of Tacloban: servants, not spectators; contributors, not critics; doers, not destroyers...As we begin the work of leading and serving our city, may these principles bind us together and guide us in this august body: mutual regard for one another; genuine humility of spirit; respect for each other's views; a willingness to work hard and work together for the common good."
Meanwhile, a “movement for pro-people change” in Tacloban challenged the new officials with 12-point people's agenda as the City Council opened its session.
Gios Taclobanon Kita an Pagbabag-o along with progressive group Bayan Eastern Visayas formally submitted their demands to the new set of city councilors on July 5 after lobbying their agenda to council during the July 3 inaugural session.
In its 12-point agenda, Gios Taclobanon Kita an Pagbabag-o urged the new city officials to “release a moratorium for all the demolition cases within the city, to distribute land title and ownership to Yolanda housing beneficiaries, to halt the jeepney phase-out scheme so as to review the anti-MCH (motorcab for hire) drivers and commuters scheme, release immediate aid for the agriculture sector, repeal the existing comprehensive land-use plan and provide the marginalized sector in Tacloban City a bigger voice in the decision-making and formulation of laws and rules in the city.”
The groups challenged the council to listen to their demand and push for a pro-people legislation.
Yaokasin admitted that “there is still so much to be done to uplift the lives of our fellow Taclobanons,” following the 2013 Super Typhoon Yolanda that devastated the city.
Six years after Yolanda, survivors at the northern resettlement sites have complained of the lack of water supply, electricity, livelihood support, and “substandard” housing.
"I have faith that with God's help and guidance, our city will not only bounce back but move forward. Together, let us create a Tacloban that is full of hope and opportunities; a Tacloban where everyone is educated, equipped and empowered to succeed in life; and a Tacloban that is dynamic, prosperous and progressive....And together, let us give the Taclobanons a government that they deserve -- a working and accountable Sangguniang Panlungsod that is responsible, resourceful and responsive to the needs of its citizens," added Yaokasin in his speech.
He also assured the new council and the public that he will serve them "with utmost responsibility, accountability and integrity."
The elected officers of the 14th City Council are Floor Leader Elvira Casal, Assistant Floor Leader Evangeline Esperas and Presiding Officer Protempore Eden Pineda.
The committees and their respective elected chairpersons and vice-chairpersons:
Committee on Finance and Appropriation: Chairperson -- Elvira Casal; Vice-Chairperson -- Evangeline Esperas
Committee on Education: Chairperson -- Elvira Casal; Vice-Chairperson -- Edmund Edward Chua
Committee on Health and Sanitation: Chairperson -- Elvira Casal; Vice-Chairperson -- Evangeline Esperas
Committee on Market Slaughter House and Livestock: Chairperson -- Dalisay Erpe; Vice-Chairperson -- Brian Steve Granados
Committee on Public Order and Safety: Chairperson -- Leo Bahin; Vice-Chairperson -- Brian Steve Granados
Committee on Engineering Infrastructure and General Services: Chairperson -- Evangeline Esperas; Vice-Chairperson -- Elvira Casal
Committee on Social Services: Chairperson -- Aimee Grafil; Vice-Chairperson -- Elvira Casal
Committee on Children, Women and Family Relations: Chairperson -- Jom Bagulaya; Vice-Chairperson -- Aimee Grafil
Committee on Youth and Sports Development: Chairperson -- Thomas Diaz; Vice-Chairperson -- Brian Steve Granados
Committee on Labor, Employment and Overseas Workers: Chairperson -- Brian Steve Granados; Vice-Chairperson -- Leo Bahin
Committee on Personnel Administration and Appointments: Chairperson -- Eden Pineda; Vice-Chairperson -- Rachelle Erica Pineda
Committee on Laws, Rules, and Privileges: Chairperson -- Evangeline Esperas; Vice-Chairperson -- Brian Steve Granados
Committee on Tourism: Chairperson -- Rachelle Erica Pineda; Vice-Chairperson -- Aimee Grafil
Committee on Arts and Culture: Chairperson -- Aimee Grafil; Vice-Chairperson -- Rachelle Erica Pineda
Committee on Games, Amusement and Entertainment: Chairperson -- Brian Steve Granados; Vice-Chairperson -- Leo Bahin
Committee on Banks, Public Utilities and Franchises: Chairperson -- Nikki Chua; Vice-Chairperson -- Rachelle Erica Pineda
Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources: Chairperson -- Rachelle Erica Pineda; Vice-Chairperson -- Leo Bahin
Committee on Environmental Protection and Waste Management: Chairperson -- Aimee Grafil; Vice Chairperson -- Leo Bahin
Committee on Justice and Human Rights: Chairperson -- Nikki Chua; Vice-Chairperson -- Edmund Chua
Committee on Barangay Affairs: Chairperson -- Eden Pineda; Vice-Chairperson -- Rachelle Erica Pineda
Committee on Empowerment and People Participation: Chairperson -- Jom Bagulaya; Vice Chairperson -- Aimee Grafil
Committee on Barangay Disputes and Adjudication: Chairperson -- Eden C. Pineda; Vice-Chairperson -- Edmund Chua
Committee on Business Trade and Industry and Consumer Protection: Chairperson -- Nikki Chua; Vice-Chairperson -- Edmund Edward Chua
Committee on Transportation and Terminal Administration: Chairperson -- Leo Bahin; Vice-Chairperson -- Thomas Diaz
Committee on Urban Poor, Housing and Human Resettlement: Chairperson -- Aimee Grafil; Vice-Chairperson -- Brian Granados
Committee on Communication, Public Information, and Information Technology Development: Chairperson -- Edmund Edward Chua; Vice-Chairperson -- Dalisay Erpe
Committee on Blue Ribbon and Ethics Committee: Chairperson -- Elvira Casal; Vice-Chairperson -- Evangeline Esperas
Committee on Gender and Development: Chairperson -- Jom Bagulaya; Vice-Chairperson -- Rachelle Pineda
Committee on Risk Reduction and Management: Chairperson -- Leo Bahin; Vice-Chairperson -- Aimee Grafil. (SunStar Philippines)