Clouds open as VP Robredo visits Natonin

>> Monday, October 24, 2016

By Roger Sacyaten

NATONIN, Mountain Province – Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo was warmly welcomed by the officialdom and people as she visited this eastern town Thursday though delayed on schedule due to bad weather.
Locals patiently waited as clouds steadily enveloped the town for more than an hour after the scheduled program at 9 a.m.
But when the clouds opened up and as two choppers flew in, the people applauded expecting a very important visitor of national stature in town unprecedented in the past.
The Vice President went directly ahead to a dialog with some provincial, municipal, and barangay officials at the church compound.
She was later adopted at the open gym program to the warm applause of the huge crowd; given the native name “Farangaw” which means a woman for all seasons, a provider in times of need.
After her was named one of the barangays in the municipality - Barangay Balangao.
She referred to the visit as her way to gauge the peoples’ pulse on prevailing issues and sentiments zeroing in on the concerns of the agency she heads and her advocacies such as the war against poverty and housing needs.
Claiming that there was no housing program in the past for indigenous peoples in the north, she said that her agency of Housing and Urban Development is now eyeing reforms to correct the situation.
“We have found a way to help in housing needs for the areas without land titles”, she said referring to the fact that government funds to develop lands require land title ownership documents.
She cited the case of the Emergency Shelter Response for the Yolanda victims when three years has passed but the funds were not used for the purpose due to the absence of land titles of the proposed sites.
“Such is not anymore true. Tax declarations can now be used”, she said assuring that the change of rules is a result of a conference between government agencies such as COA, BIR, LRA, HUDCC, and other concerned agencies.
On indigenous rights and concerns, she cited the advocacies of her late husband, the respected Secretary Jesse Robredo, that she now continues. Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives now sit in local legislative councils as a result of the memorandum of the late secretary.
Her visit here was timed to the occasion of the celebrations of the Indigenous Peoples Month and 116th Civil Service celebrations.
“We are budgeting for housing to IP communities by adopting municipalities in the Cordillera aside from Kibungan”, she said.
It was not clear if this town will also be adopted to be given housing program.
Her stay was such a short stint as she was set to visit municipalities in nearby Ifugao province. Besides, the threat of the “sky closing again” worried pilots.
Among the LGU officials present were Mayor Mateo Chiyawan and all Sangguniang Bayan members and barangay officials, Mayor Avelino Amangyen and vice mayor Lorenzo Carpio of Paracelis, Mayor Genesis Changilan of Barlig, and Mayor Johnson Bantog 11 of Besao.

Board Member Andre Claver was also present. This writer represented the congressman and the provincial government in the occasion.


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