Late Davao councilor’s wife takes oath

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 9 March) – City Councilor Lorelyn Avila took oath as new member of the Davao City Council on Wednesday, or 13 days after President Benigno S. Aquino III signed her appointment on February 26.

Atty. Dinah Tolentino-Fuentes, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Davao City chapter, administered the oath taking of Mrs. Avila at her office located along San Pedro St., this city.

She was accompanied by sons Lester and Lew Avila, grandson Leonardo Avila IX, sister Jocelyn Matutino, and entrepreneur Albert Dalisay who pledged support to Mrs. Avila.

The neophyte councilor is set to fulfill her duties in the remaining four months of the 16th Council before it adjourns by June 30.

In an interview, Avila said she would continue the advocacies left by her husband, late City Councilor Leonardo Avila III, who passed away last December 20 after suffering from stroke in September.

“It was a family decision that I take over. This is a big challenge and a big responsibility, but this is not about me, this is about the people of Davao and the environment,” she said.

Mrs. Avila has vowed to push for sustainable environmental programs, including the passage of the proposed People Empowerment, a measure that seeks to give different sectors of the society such as women, youth, farmers, to name a few, a say in the planning of government projects, that her late husband had drafted.

Mr. Avila was councilor for seven terms, from 1988 to 1998, 2001 to 2010, and 2013 until his death.

Among Mr. Avila’s legislated ordinances include the Anti-Smoke Belching Ordinance (2006), Ban Aerial Spray Ordinance (2009), Watershed Code (2007), Establishment of Marine Protected Areas (2007), Fisheries Code (2008), Rainwater Ordinance (2009), Ecological Solid Waste Management Ordinance (2010), Septage and Sewerage Management Ordinance (2010), Organic Agriculture Ordinance (2010) and the Bicycle Ordinance (2010).

Mr. Avila ran under Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod (Hugpong) from 2004 until 2015, an affiliate local party of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), until last year’s filing where he ran under PDP-Laban for the upcoming 2016 local and national elections.

Avila’s son, Lester, filed the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) in his stead last October 16.

Mrs. Avila filed her COC as a substitute candidate to her late husband last January 22 after receiving her Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) from PDP-Laban on same day.

Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) executive director Mary Ann Fuertes, in a text message to MindaNews, said that she was elated to learn that Councilor Avila has taken oath.

She said that she is looking forward to working with Councilor Avila in the fight for the retention of the 10-percent green space provision in the Comprehensive Land-Use Plan (CLUP).

“Wow, that’s good news! We are happy that she finally took oath today. We believe she has the same passion with Sir Leo and has the best intention to continue what Sir Leo had started. I believe that she won’t just be known as Sir Leo’s widow but in time she will be known for her own initiatives, too, that would benefit the people and the environment of Davao,” she said.

She said IDIS worked with the late Councilor Leo in the crafting and passage of the Ban on Aerial Spraying in the city, Organic Agriculture Ordinance, Bicycle Ordinance, and the creation of Water Management Council (WMC).