DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The 20th Davao City Council held its first session Tuesday, July 5, and is basically a Hugpong-dominated council, occupying 23 of the 24 elected council slate.
The 20th city council session is back to its morning schedule similar to the 18th council. Prior to this, the regular session was moved to an afternoon blended session under now Mayor Sebastian Duterte from 2019 to June 2022.
Heading this city council is Vice Mayor Melchor Quitain Jr, who was Floor Leader in the previous council.
Elected as the new Floor Leader is 3rd district councilor, Atty. Jesus Zozobrado who also heads the committee on rules, privileges, laws and ordinances while councilor Louie John Bonguyan who is his Assistant Floor Leader will also head the committees on medium-end projects, and energy and water and the committee on anti-terrorism.
Councilor Edgar Ibuyan Jr. who was elected by the city councilor as the President Pro-tempore will also hold the position as the chairman for the committee on public works and highways.
Abellera left out
The lone councilor who is not affiliated with Hugpong is 1st district Councilor Nilo “Small” Abellera.
Abellera got the cold treatment from his colleagues as he was left out of the nomination from 37 council committees.
During the nomination process, it was only 2nd district councilor Diosdado Angelo Mahipus Jr who spoke by reading the entire list of names nominated in every committee.
Abellera was never mentioned as head or even a member of any of the committees.
Abellera was a member of Hugpong but was unceremoniously booted out of the party before the campaign along with reelectionist Councilor Pamela Librado. The party said in a statement that they were taken out of the lineup for “ideals are not in line with the political party’s vision for Davao City and the Philippines”.
Abellera, who was seeking a comeback to the council, was implicated in 2017 with Congressman Paolo Duterte for drug smuggling but both were cleared.
During the oath taking of the committee heads, Abellera approached Quitain and later walked out from the plenary.
Quitain later in an interview said Abellera did raised his concerns to him in that chat and asked that he leave the plenary for a moment.
The vice mayor also explained that the nomination of committee heads and memberships is done by the body and not by committees.
“When we decide, dili man committee ang muboto (it’s not just the committee who vote), (it’s) everybody. Even those with no committees or no membership will still have that right to vote,” Qutian said
Abellera talked with reporters to express surprise that he did not get any single membership and plans to ask the council after the session what happened. He said he did not know the reason behind the recent decision of the council.
“I also want to know some answers. Sa ngayon, hindi ko kayang sagutin ng diretso ang katanungan ninyo kasi pati ako hindi ko rin alam,” he said.
Some re-elected councilors retained leadership of their previous committees such as Councilors Pilar Braga for education, science and technology, arts and culture; Conrado Baluran for transportation and communications; Sangguniang Kabataan President Jaffar Marohomsalic for youth and sports; Javi Campos for international relations; Rodolfo Mande for people, cultural communities and Muslim affairs; Dante Apostol for franchises and public utilities; Jonard Dayap for cooperative development and people’s participation as well as the new committee on future generation; Edgar Ibuyan Sr. for barangay affairs, and government enterprise and privatization;
Atty. Luna Acosta, daughter of current MinDA secretary and former councilor Mabel Acosta, heads the committee on peace and public safety which her mother once chaired.
Councilors Bai Sweet Advincula will head the committee on high-end projects; Louie Bonguyan for medium-end projects; Jessica Bonguyan as games and amusement committee head; Alberto Ungab for appointments and government reorganization, and city-owned properties; Wilberto Al-ag for the on social services, agriculture and food.
Councilor Myrna Dalodo-Ortiz will now head the finance, ways and means and appropriations committee previously chaired by former councilor Danilo Dayanghirang. Her past committee, tourism and beautification committee will be headed by Al Ryan Alejandre, who ran for the council after his stint in the National Commission on Culture and Arts.
Marissa Abella will hold the committee on agriculture, formerly headed by her husband, former councilor Ralph Abella.
The environment and natural resources is chaired by former GMA Davao news anchorman Councilor Tek Ocampo, who also heads the special publications committee. Councilor Mahipus previously headed the environment committee, but he is now heading several committees like the oversight committee, disaster risk reduction, and ethics and good governance.
The Villafuertes did not get the committee on health as it is given to councilor Che-che Justol. Instead, the neophyte councilor Dr. Trisha Ann Villafuerte will head the committee on women, children, and family relations while her cousin Councilor Enzo Villafuerte heads the committee on civil, political and human rights.
Councilors Bernie Al-ag will replace former councilor Pamela Morata-Librado as the new chair of the committee on trade, commerce, and industry, and labor and employment opportunities while Bonz Militar, grandson of former councilor Bonifacio Militar, will head the information technology.
Newly formed People’s Law Enforcement Board (PLEB) will be headed by Acosta for the first district, Mahipus for second district, and Advincula for third district. (davaotoday.com)