DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A senior Davao City councilor resigned from his chairmanship of two key committees during Tuesday’s session, August 8, raising speculation of a rift with the city mayor.
Bernard Al-ag announced in a letter addressed to Vice Mayor and the Council’s presiding officer Melchor Quitain Jr. that has resigned as chair of the Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Industry (CTCI) and the Committee on Labor and Employment Opportunities (CLEO). He left the plenary before the council finished discussing items under the business of the day in the agenda.
In a text message sent by Councilor Al-ag to Davao Today, he said his sudden resignation from his committee chairmanship is due to a “personal reason.”
“The reason for such is due to personal matters. The office of the undersigned will take full responsibility in turning over the accountability relative to the said committees to the next chairpersons. I am glad to have served the mentioned committees even for a short yet meaningful time,” Councilor Al-ag stated in his letter.
An insider in the city council told Davao Today that Councilor Al-ag’s resignation is “possibly connected” to Mayor Sebastian Duterte’s recent State of the City Address (SOCA) last July 28, 2023, where he called out a member of the council who reportedly “conducted a private forum” claiming that there are still problems under the Office of the City Building Official (OCBO).
Mayor Duterte said during the SOCA that there were issues of corruption in OCBO, where bookkeepers and contractors paid fixers to process documents for business applications in the city, but this has been addressed.
Councilor Al-ag did not confirm this allegation.
Council Al-ag, previously served as a councilor for three terms from 2010 to 2019. In December 2018, he was appointed to replace Paolo Duterte as the city vice mayor.
He first entered politics in 2010 and is a long-time member of Duterte’s political party Hugpong ng Pagbabago.
The city council nominated Councilors Bai Hundra Cassandra Advincula as the new CLEO chair and Myrna Ortiz as the new CTCI chair. The council also added Councilor Bonz Militar as a new member of the CTCI replacing the membership post of Ortiz she vacated.
In her statement sent to Davao Today, Councilor Advincula, who chairs the committee on housing and subdivision development under BP 220 or the Economic Housing Projects said they will review all pending items and proposals under her new committee.
“We will also coordinate with our local and national agencies for programs and proposals that will protect and advance workers’ rights, impart labor education for employers and employees as well as promote employment,” Councilor Advincula said.
Al-ag’s resignation stirred the Davao City Council for the second week. Last week, Councilor Nilo “Small” Abellera Jr. stunned the council with his privileged speech questioning why he was barred from attending Mayor Duterte’s SOCA.
Abellera was a former member of Hugpong and an ally of Congressman Paolo Duterte but was dropped by the party in 2022 and was not given membership in any committees of the council after being dangled in the alleged drug-smuggling controversy with Duterte. (davaotoday.com)bernard al-ag, davao city, duterte