BAGUIO CITY: The bill that seeks to create the Metropolitan Baguio City, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay Development Authority (MBLISTTDA) is now a law.

Republic Act (RA) 11932 lapsed into law on July 30, creating MBLISTTDA as a government entity with corporate powers that will plan and implement basic area-wide services without diminishing the LGUs' autonomy on local matters.

Under RA 11932, Baguio City and the neighboring towns of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay will be assigned as a special development and administrative area. The MBLISTTDA will be placed under the administrative supervision of the Office of the President of the Philippines.

Baguio Rep, Mark Go, the law's principal author, said the establishment of MBLISTTDA will foster sustainable development in the city and the municipalities of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay and will promote the efficient delivery of basic services.

"The city of Baguio and the municipalities of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay have so much to offer for the growth of business, agriculture and tourism. With the passage of time, however, the problems of the environment, tourism, traffic, water supply, waste management and the provision of basic services have become more evident," Go said.

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The MBLISTTDA will be tasked to centralize and oversee the development efforts and initiatives that address the challenges within the area.

Aside from planning the use of infrastructure, transport and traffic management, the MBLISTTDA shall perform medium- and long-term development responsibilities, including urban renewal, land use planning, housing and shelter; solid waste disposal and management; flood control and sewerage management, water resource management system; health, sanitation and pollution control; public safety and order; and tourism.

The MBLISTTDA Council will govern and create policies for the area. The council will be composed of the Benguet governor and the mayors of Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay as ex-officio voting members.

Meanwhile, ex officio non-voting members comprise the vice mayors of the aforementioned city and municipalities, two private sector members selected by the council, and representatives of the National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Transportation, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Tourism, Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Science and Technology (DoST), Commission on Higher Education, and Philippine National Police. A chairman will be elected from the regular members and will head the council, while an administrator will be appointed by the President from a list of nominees submitted by the council, with a term of six years. Go said the passage of MBLISTTDA will take Baguio City and the towns of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay to a new level of growth that would achieve sustainable social and economic growth for the benefit of the people.

"Through the MBLISTTDA, the principle of synergy would be emphasized when towns in a contiguous area could achieve more by planning and implementing together. This is the convergence of the cities and municipalities for a common purpose, complimentary support with each other, cooperation by sharing their resources and active collaboration," the Baguio lawmaker said.

"Through the years, we have been experiencing issues and concerns related to urban development, resource management, health, and the environment. With the establishment of MBLISTTDA, we can tackle these issues collectively, planning and addressing them in a holistic and inclusive manner. With unity, we will be able to plan, strategize, and work together for the betterment of our locales," Go added.