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LT mayor asks RDC to restore P2 M fund for BLISTT setup
Jimmy K. Laking
Region, 4-13-2014

La Trinidad Mayor Edna Tabanda last week pressed for the restoration of the P2 million appropriated by the Regional Development Council in 2012 to jumpstart formation of the Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, Tublay (BLISTT) inter-local government cooperation setup.

“The other mayors and I have been fighting for its return,” she said during the local consultation hosted by the National Economic Development Authority at the La Trinidad Municipal Hall.

She said the amount should not be treated as if it no longer exists. “Apay nga kasla mai-awawan?” she asked.

Stephanie Christiansen, who presented an overview of BLISTT, said she was not aware of the details but revealed that the P2M-fund was realigned for the information and education campaign for autonomy.

She did not elaborate on why it was realigned and who made the decision.

She added however that the RDC had appropriated P300,000 for 2014 to be used for the BLISTT formation.

Tabanda said the concept of the BLISTT emerged in the 1990s and has since been used to source funds for important road links, to include the Pico-Lamtang-Tam-awan and the Shilan-Ambiong roads.

“But it remains to have no body and soul yet up to this point,” she said, indicating it would still need legislation to formalize formation of the BLISTT.

Tuba Mayor Florencio Bentrez said there is no definite timetable for the formation and that miracles are not bound to happen overnight even with the BLISTT in place.

Sablan Mayor Arthur Baldo said the BLISTT serves as vehicle for member towns to gain a piece of development, “otherwise we will be passed by development.”

Tublay Mayor Ruben Paoad and Tabanda likened the concept to a meeting of neighbors who agree to address common issues. “One cannot impose on the others but the fact that they are talking together is good enough.”

He said the merging of small LGUs to address common concerns have more advantages than disadvantages.

BLISTT officials earlier created a governing body by signing a memorandum of agreement on Jan. 17 in Baguio City.

If the MOA is confirmed by the city and municipal councils, the 2012 MOA is deemed changed.

The governing body is composed of BLISTT local chief executives, municipal and city planning officers, the congressman of Baguio and Benguet, the governor of Benguet, city and municipal police offices, and select regional line agencies.

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