Edgar Chatto's Birthday in Balilihan, Bohol Philippines

The colorful political career of first district Cong. Edgar Chatto will be capped with his 50th birthday being celebrated today with the long and winding road ahead  leading to his biggest political battle looming large in the horizon.

Marking the golden event is a big blow out party in his hometown Balilihan starting this morning. 

A product of political unification of elections past, the coming political exercise is a formidable one as he is pitted against an equally strong opponent in V-Gov. Julius Ceasar Herrera.

Confident of his achievements that dated back to his days as Kabataang Barangay (KB) federation chair, the gentleman from Balilihan is staking his refutation as an unbeaten politician in all his political fights when he is ranged against the Calape heavyweight.

He has been a Balilihan mayor, vice governor and three- term congressman with the coveted plum of being Bohol governor next in line of his continuing quest to stay on top of his chosen career. 

As Chatto faces another challenge of his political endeavor, he is in the threshold of whether he still enjoys the expectation of Boholanos who will weigh down his performance to culminate his ambition in provincial politics. 

With all of nine years being devoted in the crafting of laws and policies, the first district solon secured funds and all other supports to development projects and service programs affecting varied sectors and constituencies.

The upgrading of education, tourism and agriculture has been among his top priorities contributing to the fulfillment of the Bohol vision as a prime eco-cultural tourism destination and a balanced-agro industrial province.

Just last Thursday, Chatto led the formal launching of the Bohol Island State University – Clarin Campus as an effect of his law, Republic Act 9722, converting the then Central Visayas State College of Agriculture, Forestry and Technology into the BISU.

The Clarin school was the first CVSCAFT branch to be be formally launched into a BISU campus.  The BISI has five other campuses, including the main in Tagbilaran City.

Mayor Hermogenes Dizon, himself a teacher, said never did it come to their minds that one day, and in his term at that, that a university would be established in a lowly fifth-class municipality like theirs.

Principally authored by Chatto, the BISU law established the first and only state university in this province of the country, making quality university education accessible by the poor in distance and cost.

The Tourism Act of 2009, a milestone legislation of both national and local importance, is another cause for the Boholanos' pride in Chatto, who is the principal author of the law and chairman of the tourism committee of the House of Representatives.

The law declares tourism as an engine of national economic recovery and growth while industry key players and stakeholders hailed it as the Philippine bible of tourism.

Chatto brought honors to the country when he presided over one of the four major plenary sessions during the 6th International Tourism Forum for Parliamentarians and Local Authorities initiated by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

In Congress, Chatto secured funds for the agriculture sector whom he represents as senior vice chairman of the committee on agriculture.  He supported policies modernizing the agriculture and fishery on a laudable intent of capacitating even the most lowly farmhands.

The unwanted bureaucratic fats poison transparency, a wanting value in the government of men, and kill people's trust in public servants.  

Chatto thus crafted, as one of its principal authors in the House, the Anti-Red Tape Act.  The law mandates for a Citizen's Charter in each local government unit and every frontline agency, among others.

One more Chatto legislative legacies is the law expanding the Special Program for the Employment of Students.  The law grants the poor students more opportunities to earn from vacation works that at the same time serve as their hands-on course training and earn for them academic credits.  Their wages will be used for their next schooling.

Chatto's legislative efforts have addressed infrastructure concerns, too, like his laws nationalizing major and vital provincial roads.  

Nationalized roads have regular national funds for annual maintenance and, ultimately, enduring improvement like concreting.  

Chatto has, therefore, caused the provincial government to save millions in road funds and instead spend them for other essential projects or basic services like health care.

The congressman is a staunch advocate of a consultative and participatory government so that he would always confer with the local leaders on their priorities for support and assistance from concerned national agencies.

One of his current major projects is the concrete conversion of the sleepy Catagbacan port in Loon into an international cruise ship port.

He is a visible figure in Congress at sessions for which he has consistently been cited among the few solons with perfect attendance. He could always report to his constituents the doings in Congress.

One more landmark law, a socially sensitive legislation, of which he is one of the main fathers in Congress is the Cheaper Medicines Act.

Chatto's other standout works as their author or co-author are the laws on rent control, the strengthening of the University of the Philippines Charter, amendments to the Cooperative Code of the Philippines, establishment of the National Book Development  Trust Fund, strengthening of the regulatory capacity of the Bureau of Food and Drugs, and strengthening of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

He has a special law declaring every July 27 as a special national working holiday in recognition of the founding of the Iglesia Ni Cristo in the Philippines.

The Roman Catholic Church and Human Life International awarded him as a pro-God, pro-family and pro-life legislator.  His Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal conferred him the honor.

His previous legislative contributions are now parts of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, amendments to the 1972 Dangerous Drugs Act, amendments to the Balikbayan Program, the granting of 10-year period for filing free patent applications, Magna Carta for Micro Enterprises, Government Procurement Act, Absentee Voting Act, Geodetic Engineering Act, declaration of every December 4-10 as National Human Rights Week, Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act, and the declaration of August 21 every year as Ninoy Aquino Day.

Chatto is one of the Ten Outstanding Boholanos Around the World (TOBAW) awardees given during the Tigum Bol-anon sa Tibuok Kalibutan (TBTK), the grandest provincial reunion of Boholanos held in every two years. The TBTK is unprecedented in the country. (Ven rebo Arigo)