Creation of 12 New Cities Approved - Batac Now A City!

The Senate approved yesterday 12 House of Representatives bills creating 12 cities throughout the country.  Before this legislative fiat, there were 118 cities in the nation. This brings to 130 the total number of cities in the Philippines.

This came after Sen. Alfredo S. Lim, chairman of the Senate Local Government Committee, successfully led on the Senate floor the approval of the 12 House bills that had not been approved by three past Congresses.

Lim said the attainment to cityhood of these municipalities would have a beneficial effect on their future as they can now undertake their own infrastructure projects as investors are likely to go to cities.

A former Manila mayor, Lim said these new cities would also get bigger Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) from the national government depending on their population and area.

Last Monday, the Senate passed a House bill converting San Juan, Metro Manila, the hometown of former President Joseph Estrada, into a city.

The 12 new cities are Baybay (Leyte), Tayabas (Quezon), Catbalogan (Samar), Lamitan (Basilan), Tandag (Surigao del Sur), Tabuk (Kalinga), Batac (Ilocos Norte), Carcar (Cebu), Bayugan (Agusan del Sur), Cabadbaran (Agusan del Norte), Borongan (Eastern Samar), and Bogo (Cebu).

Each of these 12 cities, according to Lim, has all the requisites for conversion into a component city based on the old requirements under Section 450 of the Local Government Code prior to its amendment by Republic Act (RA) 9009.

These requirements, Lim said, are:
1. An average annual income as certified by the Department of Finance of at least R20 million for the last two consecutive years based on 1991 constant prices.
2. It has a contiguous territory of at least 100 square kilometers as certified by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
3. It has a population of not less than 150,000 as certified by the National Statistics Office (NSO).

Lim said all the 12 were categorized as first-class municipalities with gross income of at least R70 million as of the 2005 Commission on Audit (CoA) report. - From  The Manila Bulletin by Mario B. Casayuran - Thursday, February 1, 2007

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