Baguio City Rep. Mark Go said he willpush for the inclusion of a P50 million budget to jumpstart the operation of the Metropolitan Baguio City, La Trinidad, Itogon, Tuba, and Tublay Development Authority.
Go said while the Mblisttda budget was not included under the proposed budget of the Office of the President, the planned budget inclusion will be raised during the House deliberation of the 2024 National Expenditure Program.
“We need to make representation with the Department of Budget and Management to include it in the House after all these deliberations, and probably we could have it during the bicameral of the House of Representatives and the Senate,” Go said.
Under Republic Act 11932 creating the Mbllisttda that lapsed into law on July 30, 2022, the agency shall operate under the administrative supervision of the OP.
Go said the initial amount shall cover the operational expenses of the agency for its program and facilities.
RA 11932 institutionalizes Mbllisttda as a government entity with corporate powers that will plan and implement basic area-wide services without diminishing the local government unit’s autonomy on local matters.
It also ensures financial support from the national government for the implementation of Blistt-wide programs and projects.
The agency, which shall be run by an administrator, shall support the Blistt as the economic and educational primary growth center of the Cordillera.
Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas said with the initial talks with the governing board made up of mayors of Benguet, Baguio and the governor, there is a need for those at the LISTT areas to prepare for the expansion of developments.
Diclas cited the current tourism situation where tourists are now purposely visiting sites outside of Baguio City.
“We do not have big accommodations outside of Baguio. So, when tourists come herein La Trinidad, they need to go back to the city but then they are caught in traffic, which lessens their leisure time,” Diclas said.
Diclas said investors need to consider building hotels or accommodations outside of Baguio City to cater to the growing number of tourists visiting Benguet.
He added the pro-vince is also propo-sing for a convention center near the Benguet Sports Complex. – Ofelia C. Empian