Members of the Tacloban Sangguniang Panlungsod, headed by Vice Mayor Jerry ‘Sambo’ Yaokasin (center) pose for posterity as they begin their fresh three-year term as councilors beginning on July 1. Together with Yaokasin are Councilors (from left) Leo Bahin, Steve Brian Granados, Dalisay Erpe, Elvira Casal, Evangeline Esperas, Aimee Grafil, Eden Chua Pineda (ABC president), Nikki Chua, Jose Mari Bagulaya, Rachelle Erica Pineda, Edmund Edward Chua, and Thomas Diaz (Sangguniang Kabataan president)

TACLOBAN CITY- Both administration and opposition members of the city council received chairmanships of various committees as the 14th Sangguniang Panlungsod formally opened on Wednesday (July 3).
The election, however, of the various chairmanships appeared to be pre-arranged and agreed before the session started at around 3:38, more than an hour late from the regular 2 pm start of their session.
Mayor Alfred Romualdez was supposed to deliver his inaugural address before the election of new chairmanships but sent a letter to Vice Mayor Jerry ‘Sambo’ Yaokasin, presiding officer of the council, that he could not attend due to a pressing matter.
Elected as floor leader was Councilor Elvira Casal, who topped the council race during the May 13 midterm elections.
Casal was nominated to the post by reelected Councilor Evangeline Esperas who was named as her assistant.
Councilor Eden Pineda, who sits at the council being the president of the Association of Barangay Chairmen, was elected as presiding officer protempore.
However, the council deferred until their next regular session as who will head the following committees: ways and means, retirees, senior citizens, and livelihood and cooperatives and persons with disabilities.
While most of the councilors got several committee chairmanships, Councilor Dalisay Erpe, a returning councilor, and Edmund Edward Chua, a neophyte councilor only got one each.
Erpe got the committee on market and slaughterhouse while Chua got the committee on communication, public information, and information technology development; and
Councilor Casal, aside from elected as floor leader, she was also named as chairperson of the following committees: finance and appropriations; education; health and sanitation; and blue ribbon and ethics committee.
Councilor Esperas was elected as chairpersons on the committees on engineering and infrastructure development; and laws, rules, and privileges.
Councilor Aimee Grafil, meantime, got the chairmanship on the following committees: social services; culture and arts; environment protection; urban poor and housing; and environment protection.
Councilor Jose Mari Bagulaya got the committees on women and children, empowerment and people participation; and gender and development.
Councilor Rachelle Erica Pineda was elected to chair the following committees: tourism and agriculture and fishery.
Councilor Eden Chua Pineda was elected as the chairpersons on the committees on barangay disputes and adjudications and personnel administration and appointments and barangay affairs.
Neophyte Councilors Leo Bahin, Brian Steve Granados, and Nikki Chua also got several committee chairmanships.
Bahin was elected to chair the following committees: transportation, and disaster and risk management while Granados got the committees on labor and employment; games and amusement.
Councilor Nikki Chua got the committees on banks, public utilities and franchises; and justice and human rights.
Councilor Thomas Diaz, who is the city federation president of the Sangguniang Kabataan, was chosen to head the committees on youth and sports development. (JOEY A. GABIETA/LIZBETH ANN A.ABELLA)