Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hagedorn declines Erap’s UNA invite, says he’s no political butterfly

PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, April 2, 2013-Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn said on Tuesday he has been lured by deposed former President Joseph Estrada to join the United Nationalist Alliance which the latter headed together with Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile but declined the offer and remained an independent senatorial candidate so he won’t emerge a political butterfly.

          “Erap (Estrada’s nickname) is my friend and he’s been calling me to join the UNA senatorial slate. But I didn’t accept the offer so I won’t turn out as a political butterfly,” Hagedorn told reporters here on the sidelines of a pro-women rally arranged by businesswoman Rianne Cuevas.

          Hagedorn said that while he is an independent candidate, he will rely on the support of three big groups : the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) and the Liga ng mga Barangay.

“I count on their solid support and with this, I hope to get elected in the Senate in May,” he said. He said he has no problem with mobility and logistics, unlike other independent senatoriables.

          Hagedorn said his advocacies will focus primarily on environment, local governance, tourism and agriculture. He said only two percent of environmental laws are being implemented in the country.

          He said he would move for a revision of the Local Government Code and make it attuned to present realities as well as craft legislations that would widen the tax base for local government units by including the value added tax in the computation of internal revenue allotments (IRA).

          “We should base it on the previous year and not on the last three years,” he said, adding he favored the inclusion of coastal areas in the computation of the IRA of coastal LGUs.

          Hagedorn said he is for the return of the four to five-year terms of office of local and national officials without any term limits or restrictions and for the strengthening of safeguards in the enforcement of the recall petition.
          He said he would apply the Puerto Princesa experience in helping spur tourism and agricultural development in the country.

          Hagedorn stressed the need for the government to come up with a national land use plan which will be attuned to the comprehensive land use plan of LGUs.

          He said this was necessitated by a recent development in Puerto Princesa wherein certain quarters wanted to undertake mining activities at the world-famous Underground River which the city government opposed.

          “This proposal to undertake mining at the river was approved in the national level which was made because there is no national land use plan. The thing is, they have to coordinate with local government units. The mere fact it was accepted in the national level means they were raising false hopes among the interested mining companies,” he said. (Manny Galvez)     

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