Davao City Congressman Paolo Duterte has called on Aklan Congressman Ted Haresco to stop politicizing the measure creating the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA) but rather do the right thing by helping to work on a more pragmatic approach to ensure a sustainable Boracay.
Duterte, chair of the House Committee on Accounts, said this as he addressed the stinging remarks of the Aklan solon against him and towards other congressmen who have introduced their separate versions of the BIDA bill in Congress.
“Our strategic choice is to embrace and support measures that will ensure the sustainable development of Boracay. Huwag po sana natin i-pulitika ito. Instead, let us work together to protect the beauty of Boracay Island and further promote it as a top international tourist destination,” he appealed.
The Presidential son was reacting to issues hurled by Haresco in a recent meeting with local officials, NGOs, and stakeholders of Boracay, during which he (Haresco) lambasted fellow congressmen who author versions of the measure stating that “they are just trying to seize the opportunity to suck up to the President.”
Haresco also singled out the younger Duterte, saying he was just showing off to please the President, noting, “Well, Pulong has to follow the President. It’s his dad, right? So he needs to show off to his father that he’s working.”
“Sa Congress ‘pag sinabi ng President gusto ko ng ganito, within one hour lahat yan gusto magtsu-tsu kay President, magpa-file sila tapos susulat sila sa President telling him, ‘Boss, sinunod ko ang sinabi mo’. Kanya-kanyang gimmick lang yan [It has been the way in Congress that if the President wants something, expect within an hour that all will do it. Then they will write the President to tell him, ‘Boss, I’ve done what you’ve asked’. It’s individual gimmickry],” he adds.
DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY
Duterte said the BIDA bill (HB 6214) he filed is meant to create a specialized body that will work with national agencies and local government units to protect the island, its people, and its environment so, that “we, our children, and the rest of the world can enjoy it.”
“Ginawa ko po ito hindi bilang anak ng Presidente, pero bilang congressman na may concern sa kapakanan ng mga kababayan natin sa Boracay na humihingi ng tulong. Wala po akong financial interest sa Boracay. Ang BIDA bill po ay ginawa para sa Boracay Island at para sa lahat ng tao.”
“As a legislator, it is my duty and responsibility na tulungan yung mga humihingi ng tulong. I hope my fellow lawmakers recognize me and my efforts as a colleague and as a fellow legislator, not merely as the son of the President,” he stated.
Duterte said he acknowledges the feelings of Haresco which might have been hurt when he and other congressmen who are not from Aklan took it upon themselves to introduce the BIDA bill in Congress, but gave assurances “that we have not done this merely to appease the President when he touched on the creation of a Boracay Island Development Authority in his State of the Nation Address last July 2020.”
“Even before I was elected as a congressional representative, marami na ang lumalapit sa akin para gumawa ng batas patungkol sa Boracay upang maprotektahan ang isla. Pero wala pa po akong magawa noon. The most I could do was ilapit po kay Presidente. So, when I was given the privilege to join Congress I took it upon myself, as a legislator, to create a bill which addresses the concerns of the stakeholders in Boracay Island. Hindi ko po ginawa ito para lang ipakita sa tatay ko na may ginagawa ako at sumusunod lamang ako sa utos niya,” he stressed.
“I am just hoping that Congressman Haresco won’t be drowned out by politics because of this measure that my colleagues and I in Congress are pushing to finally establish better management of Boracay Island. We may not be from Boracay but we are equally concerned about its sustainability as well as the welfare of the stakeholders and its people,” he adds.
Relatedly, ACT-CIS Partylist Representative Eric Yap, also one of the sponsors of the BIDA bill, assailed the statement of Haresco, underscoring, “Hindi kami nagfile ng BIDA bill para ipagyabang kay President Duterte ngunit dahil napapanahon na para ayusin ang Boracay na matagal nang hindi naaayos.”
Along with Duterte and Yap in sponsoring the BIDA bill is Marino Partylist Representataive Sandro Gonzalez. They were the first solons who filed the BIDA measure when they introduced HB 6214 on February 5, way before the 5th SONA of the President in July.
But soon after President Duterte classified the bill as important during his SONA, six new versions of the BIDA bill were filed in Congress which include the one authored by Aklan 1st District Congresssman Carlito Marquez (HB07256); Partylist Representative Claudine Diana Bautista (HB06285); Paranaque City 1st District Representative Eric Olivares (HB07249); Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative Luis Raymund Villafuere Jr., (HB07280); Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez (HB07313); and Bataan 2nd District Representative Jose Enrique Garcia III (HB07360).
Haresco, for his part, filed a measure (HB 4175) creating a Boracay Island Council instead which, he said, is more appropriate for the island of Boracay./INews