Bacolor Rehabilitation Council needs support
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The full rehabilitation of lahar-devastated Bacolor town looms bigger and nearer.
A bill filed by Pampanga third district Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr. breezed through what may be a record-setting decision at the Senate committee level last Thursday.
House Bill (HB) 3389, which seeks to rebuild Bacolor under a proposed multi-sectoral council and a funding of P1 billion, was approved without any objection by the Senate committee on local government.
"The hardy people of Bacolor deserves our full support to help them rise from the tragic and devastating effects of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption from which they had since worked hard to recover," Gordon said in a brief statement.
Gordon, who was commended by Bacolor Vice Mayor Diman Datu for his efforts to help the people of Bacolor since the eruption, suggested that the multi-sector council be known as Bacolor Rehabilitation Council. He said the council should be headed by the town mayor.
Bacolor Mayor Romeo Dungca Jr. was not present in the hearing, but his vice mayor, members of the Municipal Council, barangay officials and other representatives from non-government organizations trooped to the Senate in a show of force.
Pampanga Governor Eddie Panlilio, who was also invited, did not make it due to an earlier commitment. Board Member Johnny Quiambao also showed up to express his support to the bill.
Regional directors of National Government agencies, among them Director Remigio Mercado of the National Economic Development Authority, Director Alfredo Tolentino and Engineer Rico Guilas of the Department of Public Works and Highways, also came to the meeting.
Except for Datu, all the guests sat through probably one of the shortest and uncontested deliberation on a bill in the Senate, which will tackle next the Bacolor measure in its plenary for final approval.
Datu, who spoke the longest, reminded the senators of Bacolor's colorful historic past, having been once the capital of the Philippines and Pampanga, and once dubbed "the Athens of Pampanga," a reference to the literary center of ancient Greece.
Gonzales said Bacolor appears to be "the missing link" in the overall development of Pampanga as he cited the need to push a more aggressive and comprehensive effort to rebuild the town.
"Among Pampanga's 21 towns, Bacolor seems like the missing link in the progress and development that the province is now enjoying," he said.
The House of Representatives passed Gonzales' bill on third and final reading on February 19.
(May 30, 2008 issue)