TACLOBAN City- Vice Mayor Jerry “Sambo” Yaokasin of this city remained hopeful of a “united” 14th Sangguniang Panglungsod (SP).
“I’m hoping that we will be able to rise above and beyond our political differences,” Yaokasin told Leyte Samar Daily Express.
Six councilors, Leo Bahin, Steve Brian Granados, Dalisay Erpe, Evangeline Esperas, Aimee Grafil and Dr. Elvira Casal are considered to be allies of Mayor Alfred Romualdez while Councilors Jose Mari Bagulaya, Edmund Edward Chua, Rachelle Erica Pineda, Nikki Chua as well as Sangguniang Kabataan city federation president Thomas Diaz and Association of Barangay Chairmen president Eden Chua Pineda are considered to be members of the opposition in the city council.
In his inaugural speech, Yaokasin said: “Let us act like true leaders of Tacloban: servants, not spectators; contributors, not critics; doers, not destroyers. As we begin the work of leading and serving our city, may these principles bind us together and guide us in this august body: mutual regard for one another; genuine humility of spirit; respect for each other’s views; a willingness to work hard and work together for the common good.”
Meanwhile, a “movement for pro-people change” in Tacloban challenged the new officials and adopt what they called their 12-point people’s agenda.
‘Gios Taclobanon Kita an Pagbabag-o’ along with progressive group Bayan Eastern Visayas formally submitted their demands to the new set of city councilors on July 5 after lobbying their agenda to council during the July 3 inaugural session.
In its 12-point agenda, Gios Taclobanon Kita an Pagbabag-o urged the new city officials to “release a moratorium for all the demolition cases within the city, to distribute land title and ownership to Yolanda housing beneficiaries, to halt the jeepney phase-out scheme so as to review the anti-MCH (motorcab for hire) drivers and commuters scheme, release immediate aid for the agriculture sector, repeal the existing comprehensive land-use plan and provide the marginalized sector in Tacloban City a bigger voice in the decision-making and formulation of laws and rules in the city.”
The groups challenged the council to listen to their demands and push for a pro-people legislation.
Yaokasin admitted that “there is still so much to be done to uplift the lives of our fellow Taclobanons,” following the 2013 super typhoon Yolanda that devastated the city.
Six years after Yolanda, survivors at the northern resettlement sites have complained of the lack of water supply, electricity, livelihood support, and “substandard” housing. (RONALD O. REYES)