By Freddie Lazaro
BANGUED, Abra – Northern Luzon is setting its sights on steady growth and inclusive development through meaningful laws, House of Representative Special Committee on North Luzon Growth Quadrangle Chairman JB Bernos said.
Bernos, the newly elected chairman of the House panel said that “while the regions of Northern Luzon are not lagging behind with other regions in the country, I admit that there are many things that still need to be done for the people and for the communities.”
The Abra lawmaker was elected Wednesday to lead the special House cluster, said his focus is on maintaining and improving economic growth as well as the delivery of social services throughout Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), where he hails.
Bernos noted that only the Ilocos Region posted an increased in economic growth, to 6.5 percent in 2018 from 5.8 percent in 2017. Cagayan Valley and CAR grew by 3.3 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively.
“It is imperative now to ensure that the economic activities in the regions are strengthened, especially in agriculture, forestry, and fishing activities that are the predominant sources of livelihood in North Luzon,” Bernos said.
The lawmaker also vowed to take up issues most vital to the three regions: infrastructure development and disaster risk reduction and management.
“We are home to many tourism sites – churches, mountains, rivers, food tourism sites, and beaches; to propel visits and revenue generation, we have to look into improving infrastructure facilities,” Bernos said.
Bernos had warned that in the next four months, Northern Luzon will be bracing again for the onslaught of typhoons, “so it is also important to use our oversight powers to prepare the communities for torrential rainfall, landslides, and flooding”.
He enjoined his fellow North Luzon lawmakers to push for legislation that really matter for the people and communities.
“People always say that we live in the ‘Solid North’, so, together, let us show the country what we can do and achieve as a super region,” he said.
Bernos, 40, is the youngest congressman Abra had elected. He became a congressman in 2016 at 37, and maintained his post through a landslide last May.