July 15, 2007

Inaugural session
Committee chairmanships announced
New city council internal rules OKd

WITH the majority in the Laoag City Sangguniang Panlungsod now belonging to the administration bloc, it was no surprise that none from the opposition side was given any committee chairmanship.

The committee chairmanships—along with the new internal rules for the city council—was approved during the inaugural session on July 4.

Returning Councilor Joseph Tamayo was chosen as majority floor leader as he would also chair the following committees: finance, infrastructure, natural resources and environment protection, housing and zonification.

The chairmanship of the committees on laws, ethics, rules and regulations; ways and means; and human rights were given to Councilor Juan Conrado A. Respicio II while Councilor Donald Nicolas got the chairmanship on the committees on peace and order; and transportation, public utilities and public safety.

Another returning councilor, Sonia B. Siazon was named minority floor leader and she would also chair the committees on education, tourism, culture and international affairs, and labor and personnel actions.

Neophyte Councilor Francis Dacuycuy was named chairman of the committees on health and public sanitation, and social services and family.

Two other first-term councilors, Councilor Derick Lao was named chairman of the committees on agriculture and cooperatives, and games and amusement, while Councilor Mariolito Carag got the chairmanship of the committees on trade, commerce and industry, and the market and slaughterhouse.

Meanwhile ex-officio members Althea Katrina F. Castro and Benjamin Cabacungan were also given committee chairmanship as both are aligned with the administration bloc. Castro chairs the committee on youth and sports development, while Cabacungan would chair the committee on barangay affairs and community development.

On the other side of the spectrum, oppositionist Councilor Vicentito M. Lazo was named vice chair of the committee on market and slaughterhouse. The other oppositionists, Councilors Edison U. Chua and Constante F. Dancel Jr. were named members of the committee on trade, commerce and industry, and youth and sports development, respectively.

Reacting to this, Lazo, said since he does not hold any chairmanship in the city council, this would entail less work for him. But he clarified that this would not mean that he would be short in performing his responsibilities and obligations as councilor. Lazo is an ex-officio member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan by virtue of his being the Philippine Councilors’ League (PCL) chapter president. At the provincial board, he chairs the committees on laws, rules, ethics and privileges, and landed estates and assessments.

During a discussion, Respicio suggested that Lazo be named as vice chairman of the laws committee since he is also a lawyer and the issues being brought to the committee are legal matters. However Lazo turned down the suggestion and the membership to the said committee were given to Nicolas and Cabacungan.

Relative to this, Tamayo explained that the formulation of the different committees was conducted through caucuses and nominations were entertained.

He also clarified that since only the majority members of the council attended the caucuses, the current chairmanship profile became the result.

He further stated that Laoag Mayor Michael V. Fariñas has not in any way influenced them on the chairmanship selection but he also admitted that they asked for his advises as chairman of the Kampi party where majority of them belong.

During the said discussion, it was also approved that regular session schedules would remain every Wednesday and at least eight members of the council should be present to form a majority.

Dominic B. dela Cruz

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