by Kurt Ivan Angeles
With less than three weeks before the 2022 Elections, the University of the Philippines Los Baños’ (UPLB) College of Human Ecology and School of Environmental Science and Management hosted the #UPLBsaHalalan2022 online forum “Lider ng Bayan: The Los Baños Mayoral Candidates Leadership Forum” last Thursday, April 21.
The said forum provided an opportunity for the mayoral candidates to present their programs and platforms, and answer multisectoral questions that impact the constituents of Los Baños and UPLB.
Three of the six candidates participated in the forum: Joel Mendoza Lapis (Aksyon Demokratiko), Feliciano Escobin (Independent), and incumbent mayor Antonio Kalaw (Independent), who each responded to the pressing issues and concerns of the municipality.
One of the questions asked was their plan of action to fix the traffic issue in the municipality. Lapis proposed to remove the cable posts obstructing the widened roads and to open alternative routes for the drivers. Expressing the need to assess the situation, he said, “Nakikita po natin na kung ito’y mabibigyan ng masusing pag-aaral ay makakabawas sa (lagay) ng trapiko.”
Kalaw, on the other hand, stated that he has been working on a diversion system through partnerships and connections. “Akin pong niwo-work out na po ‘yan. Nagkakaroon po tayo ng diversion system. Miski na ano po ang gawin natin sa Crossing, ‘pag hindi tayo nag-divert, talagang full traffic yan,” the Los Baños Mayor said. He also proposed for an overpass to the national agencies, but had been told that it is not the best solution.
Independent candidate Escobin addressed the need to impose strict discipline to all, saying that there will be “no exemption – government, private, kahit sino pa siya.” He added that he will produce a set of guidelines, to which the details are yet to be disclosed. His plans also included the construction of sidewalks for safety, the removal of cable posts, and road widening.
Another issue tackled in the forum is Los Baños’ solid waste management. According to Lapis, “siguro may mga pasilidad tayong mailalagay sa ating mga barangay, ‘yung MRF (Material Recovery Facility), upang makatulong [sa’tin] ang ating mga kababayan diyan sa mga barangay.” He also emphasized the need for situation analysis by tagging experts from both inside and outside UPLB to formulate solutions in addressing the problem.
For Mayor Kalaw, solid waste management starts with the collective effort of the community, explaining that, “Ang Los Baños po ay napakalaki na po ang binabayad sa basura lang. Kaya po ako nananawagan, sayang ang pera, kung mapapatapon lang sa hindi tamang sistema.” Kalaw plans to create a better waste transfer system while also following the footsteps of the late Mayor Caesar Perez in enforcing a plastic ban.
Meanwhile, Escobin proposed for registered segregation bins for all households, adding that a penalty will be imposed if not managed properly. He also suggested having recycling technologies and the reusing of wastes to which he mentioned, “may nakita na po ako, plastic ginawang bricks. ‘Yun pong mga nabubulok, sila na mismo itinatambak sa bahay nila ginagawa nilang compost.” He ended by addressing the viewers that there will be no solution if there is no cooperation.
The full version of the forum, including the responses of the candidates to the other sectoral questions and those asked by the viewers can be replayed here.