Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Why NIC is the best choice

* He is a top 10 legislator out of 294 members of the House of Representatives.

Nicasio Aliping, Jr. is the only Congressman in Cordillera during the 16 Congress to hold this distinction as a top legislator. Although only in his first term as Congressman, Aliping has to date authored 25 and co-authored 142 House measures. Out of the total, one-half has been approved on 3rd Reading by the House of Representatives, 28 of which are now Republic Acts, four are awaiting action by the President, and 42 are pending action by the Senate, while seven measures were adopted as House Resolutions. Aliping ranks among the TOP TEN CONGRESSMEN with the most number of bills (authored and co-authored) that were enacted into law (HREP Bills and Index Service Statistical Reports). 

This is why we voted for him, to be our representative in the legislative body and he did it with flying colors.

* Aliping was able to succeed where others failed.

Once, his defeated rival said that his election was ill-timed because of the abolition of PDAF (the Priority Assistance Development Fund of lawmakers prior to Nic joining Congress) . The Congressman proved that PDAF is not the only source of funding. In the end, he was able to source funding for pending essential projects in many Barangays, Schools, and Agencies of Baguio that would have taken years to complete if were funded from the usual PDAF.

Funding for these projects were sourced and coursed through the different government agencies: DPWH, the Road Board, Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, DOLE, PCSO, PAGCOR, etc. He was also able to find funding from other legislators and committee heads, including the Speaker of the House and the Vice President to bankroll several necessary projects. He was also able to double the budget allocation or General Appropriations for the City each year allowing for faster implementation of needed projects. 

Several of these significant projects were school buildings in seven National High Schools, and Baguio was the first to inaugurate a Senior High School Building in Cordillera. It was recently inaugurated in San Vicente National High School. 

Still more development money were sourced for other projects through the Road Board. One is the pedestrian overpass located along Bokawkan road where several accidents occurred in the past, including a student and a grandmother who were hit while they were crossing the very wide road. Another is located in front of Baguio City National High School along the most dangerous stretch of Gov. Pack Road where several accidents also happened which included one where a librarian of the school who was just hit by a speeding car. The last one is located along Upper Session Road for the use of pupils and teachers of Quezon Elementary School.

The difference with the former administration is, the P40 million PDAF was divided to 128 barangays allowing for only about P200,00.00 for their projects. This amount is not enough to finish a barangay hall project. 

Aliping’s was able to find funding to complete projects in most barangays. Several other projects like the flood control substructure in Middle Quirino Hill where the creek was covered to stop people from throwing their garbage into the water and at the same time making it a safe pathway. There are a number of covered courts and multi-purpose buildings that were immediately completed. Many of these multi-purpose buildings are for the use of pre-schoolers and senior citizens. 

We usually notice road projects by the DPWH in main thoroughfares, which are regularly maintened by the agency. What we don’t know was there are also road concreting projects in several barangays and most of them are almost completed.

Barangay Road Project in Sto. Tomas Proper.
* The upgrading of the Baguio Athletic Bowl alone is a good reason to vote for him.

Why are we giving him much credit on that project? For more than 40 years, the dilapidated grandstands and oval never saw major repairs. One reason is, allocating funding for it was not under the menu of projects which the DPWH can legally fund. At one time, Baguio leaders contemplated a partnership with a foreign private entity, which was opposed by many, including my organization that once adopted a portion of the Pine Trees of the World Park.

Congressman Aliping tried other means and he was able to resolve the issue on funding for this project and during his first year, funding was allocated under DPWH. We probably are the first one to receive funding for this kind of a project through this agency. On his first term alone, he was able to source a total of P114 million for the Athletic Bowl and the improvement is still ongoing until all of the dilapidated buildings and other structures are improved.

He is not a miracle worker but he gets things done.

* Enhanced Significant Projects

He continued significant projects started by his predecessors. He increased the recipients of the student financial assistance and changed the name of the program, removing the name of politicians. According to him, why name this program to a politician when the funds are from people’s taxes? The Student Financial Assistance Program (StuFAP) has about 1,177 students who benefit yearly.

He also increased the budget allocation for DSWD and a total of 7,215 indigents availed of the assistance. 

Patients of BGHMC numbering 2,131 have already benefitted from the Medical Assistance Program (MAP) implemented by the Department of Health with the increased funding he allocated.

*Teaching them to fish

At least 106 individual beneficiaries and several livelihood organizations in various Barangays were granted livelihood assistance by the Department of Labor and Employment in 2014. These are ongoing programs, and with augmentation coming from other party-list Congressmen, through Aliping's intercession, a greater number of Baguio residents will be benefitted.

* He is indeed the Alipin ng Bayan.

Social responsibility is not one of the regular jobs of Congressmen, but his fervor to help the needy is innate. Even when he was a councilor, his L300 van dubbed the “Alipin ng Bayan” has serviced many of his constituents. When he was elected Congressman, he multiplied this assistance through the Baguio Congressman’s Social Responsibility Foundation, Inc.

The Foundation was able to assist the needy who cannot be accommodated by other government agencies like the DSWD or the DOH.

The “Alipin ng Bayan” transport services have successfully assisted in transporting athletes, senior citizens, the sick, deceased, and assisted in several medical missions including 16 medical missions in several municipalities in Leyte after the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda.

It may seem to be a small matter, but transporting a deceased loved one could be very expensive especially when the body is transported passing several towns or provinces.

The Foundation has also extended financial help to several organizations, barangays, and churches that are not qualified for government assistance or the needs are immediate.

On several occasions, when the budget of the foundation was depleted, he donated his month’s salaries, amounting to P60,000.00 to several of these organizations. 

He and his team of candidates have also funded several projects in Barangays from their own pockets. Completion of Barangay hall in Greenwater, water pump in West Quirino Hill and several others.

If other Congressmen are known to take cuts in projects, this Congressman did not require the contractors to do so. He asks them for donations to the foundation instead. And the donors are given receipts, and part of these donations are the reasons why transport services to the needy are provided for free.

* Not hypocrite and easy to talk to.

Anyone can talk to him but he is frank to tell you if things can be done and will not waste your time with promises if it's not possible. He is willing to help anyone in need of help.

* What about his case?

There’s a saying “we are a nation of laws, not of men”. There is a reason why our laws were created - to guard our rights against judgmental people who only see the superficial information and make rash conclusions accordingly. So in other words, “We are a nation of laws, not of judgemental people”.
Let the wheel of justice take its course – WE ARE NOT THE JUDGES TO THIS TRIAL!

But this is what I know. He is being accused of cutting more than 700 trees. One mature tree is more than enough to fill a truck with lumber. This means there must have been hundreds of truckloads that traversed the Cabuyao road in order to transport the 700 or so supposedly cut trees. So why hasn’t a single resident of the area or the police checkpoints reported ever seeing such a truck leaving Mt. Sto. Tomas? Why are there no trees found on his properties? A hundred mature trees would be hard to hide, much less 700. Is DENR sure of its number? Or were they just pressured to bring out those figures? He already have a road going to his property, did he really build a road that he does not need? Are these really new roads or as the farmers claim, are actually old logging roads by Kairuz Concessionaires still being used to transport vegetables? Do we really know the situation up there that we become judges without checking the facts? I’ve been there and I have my own story to tell but let the court decide on this one.


Are we going to miss this great opportunity and go back to the old ways? Do we want to see meaningless projects like a concrete pine tree in exchange for a real one?

Are we going to take a chance on a new politician who has questionable motives? One who created a school that is only for the elites and not affordable by the needy? A so-called manager who has several cases of questionable labor practices? Whose family own big real-estate corporation with  

We had always been whining about change, I believe change is what our incumbent Congressman is giving us.

There are many things that he was the first to initiate like some of the things I mentioned above, and we expect more from him. He is someone brave enough to initiate changes and succeeds.

He passed his BAR exam on his first take, he won as councilor in 2001 on his first try, and he won as Congressman on his first run in 2013. I don’t believe this is luck, I believe this is about planning and preparation. He is well equipped and knows what is needed.

And NIC can bring us there.

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