Councilor Isabelo Cosalan, Jr. has authored an ordinance formally declaring Baguio City as a character city.
The proposed ordinance, if and when approved, would strengthen the existing programs of the city government which are aimed at instilling positive values “in all aspects of human endeavor” in the barangays, government, non-government organizations, and schools.
Cosalan stated that the city government continuously implements character formation activities and programs so as to achieve the city’s vision of “having a righteous government and a disciplined citizenry and to have a family-oriented, progressive, peaceful, clean, and green environment conducive for education, trade, and tourism managed by God-fearing leaders.”
“The role of character has always been the key factor in the rise and fall of nations. It is the only effective bulwark against internal and external forces that lead to a country’s disintegration or collapse,” he said.
He added that the city government’s character city program encourages the whole community to band together to establish a city of character.
“The character city program envisions a city in which elected officials, community leaders, and citizens recognize the importance of good character where everyone works together to ensure that families are strong, homes and streets are safe, education is effective, business is productive, neighbors care about one another, and citizens are free to make wise choices for their lives and families,” the councilor wrote in his proposal.
Under the proposed ordinance, the character city program shall include the creation of a manual on character building and development, its concept, and benefits which shall be the core in the enhancement of the character city program and shall be used in its implementation and institution to the different sectors of the community.
Copies of the manual shall be distributed to the barangays, transport sectors, schools and universities, businesses, cooperatives, civil society organizations, government offices, media, and law enforcers.
Moreover, the program shall further focus on character enhancement, giving emphasis to the development of five human values (Truth, Right Action, Peace, Non-Violence, and Love) and six pillars (Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Responsibility, and Citizenship).
Printouts of posters with featured monthly character quality shall be posted in all offices in the city for the appropriate information and guidance of the public. Information dissemination may also be done through the use of the radio, television, digital communications, and publications at the different newsletters of the city and local newspapers.
To ensure the successful implementation of the ordinance, a Baguio City Character Council (BCC) shall be created.
The BCC shall be chaired by the city mayor and co-chaired by a representative of an accredited CSO from the Faith community. The city vice mayor shall be the vice chairperson while the members shall consist of city officials, officials in the academe, and representatives of the local business sector, non-government organizations, and accredited cooperatives.
All sectors shall be required to prepare an annual work plan which will serve as the basis for evaluation, monitoring, and appropriations. The BCC shall render an annual report of their activities including financial reports incurred. The report shall likewise be presented during the annual character week celebration.
The proposed ordinance has been approved by the Baguio City Council on first reading and referred to the council’s Committee on Ethics, Governmental Affairs, and Personnel for review. -Jordan G. Habbiling