MALAYBALAY CITY(MindaNews/03 July) – In its inaugural session last Monday, the Bukidnon Sangguniang Panlalawigan included four new areas among its existing committees, including climate change adaptation and disaster preparedness.
Provincial board member Jay Albarece, chair of the committee on rules and privileges, said the board is catching up on others that already have such a committee related to climate change and disaster preparedness.
He stressed it is high time to create the committee with the present climate change situation.
The committee on climate change adaptation and disaster preparedness is lumped with the committee on environmental protection. The committee is chaired by Alfeo Baguio of the third district, who chaired the original committee in the last provincial board.
Ma. Easterluna Canoy, executive director of the Kitanglad Integrated NGOs, hoped the move is “not for compliance and cosmetic adjustment only.”
“I hope the provincial government included climate change adaptation and disaster preparedness [due to the] urgency of the problem,” she told MindaNews.
But Canoy noted that it is still a welcome move even if it came “quite late” for a province that is supposed to be “advanced” in climate change adaptation, mitigation and disaster preparedness.
Canoy said it should translate into policies that would create climate change interventions and programs, which she noted should not endanger the natural habitat and existing resources of the province.
“The move should result in the implementation of climate compatible development projects,” Canoy added.
Another new committee is on ethics, which was added to Albarece’s committee on rules and privileges.
He said the ethics committee would cover internal conduct at the provincial board. Albarece, the only lawyer left in the board, also chairs the committee on laws, labor, and manpower development.
Social service for senior citizens and other areas was also included in the existing committee on women and family, health, and social services. Board member Marivic Montesclaros, who held the committee in the last provincial board, retained the post.
Public Utility is also lumped into the committee on civil service, chaired by first district board member Clive Quiño, who was elected majority floor leader. He also chairs the committee on civil service.
In his remarks after election, Quiño vowed a provincial board that looks “more of quality than quantity.”
Among the highlights of the two-hour afternoon session was the selection of newcomer Bob Casanova, former Malaybalay City councilor, as chair of the committee on appropriations, ways and means.
Veteran board member Manuel Dinlayan questioned the choice over re-elected board member Ranulfo Pepito.
But Pepito told the session he respects the decision of the presiding officer in choosing Casanova, referring to Vice Governor Alex Calingasan,
Calingasan said that Casanova was given the committee chairmanship because of his previous experience as chair of the committee on appropriations in the Malaybalay City council.
Pepito, however, retained the committee on agriculture, cooperatives, and trade and industry.
Dinlayan now chairs the committee on land use and human settlement, and agrarian reform.
Calingasan, the presiding officer, also heads two committees – the committee on beautification and tourism, which was previously held by Dinlayan, and the special oversight committee (good governance, developmental research, plans and programs; and enforcement of laws and ordinances).
Board member Gordon Torres, whose family runs a college, chairs the committee on education and the committee on justice and human rights and peace and order.
Broadcaster Renato Centillas now chairs the committee on poverty alleviation and social reform.
The other newcomer, former Malaybalay City councillor Melchor Maramara, chairs the committee on engineering and public works.
Federation of Association of Barangay Councils president Roelito Gawilan chairs the committee on barangay and local government.
Indigenous people’s mandatory representative Datu Magdalino Pandian retains the chairmanship for the committee on indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples.
Sangguniang Kabataan federation chair Raiza Angelique Porminal chairs the committee on youth and sports development.
Aside from the committees, the inaugural session also discussed changes on internal rules.
The board members decided to move the regular session from Wednesday to Monday, at 1:30 p.m. The morning is open for committee hearings and question hour with guests.
They also ruled that the English and the Binukid versions of “Bukidnon My Home,” the provincial hymn, will come after the singing of the Lupang Hinirang every session. They will also recite the provincial board members’ oath. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)