Thursday, February 1, 2007
A Call for Reason and Respect for Law
The following text is the official statement of the League of Cities of the Philippines on the pending 12 cityhood bills currenlty being deliberated by the Senate. This was also published on the Philippine Daily Inquirer on January 31, 2007
The League of Cities of the Philippines is expressing its vehement objections to the purported move by the Senate to pass the 12 city hood bills of municipalities which did not meet the requirements provided for in the Local Government Code of 1991 as amended by Republic Act 9009.
Republic Act 9009, which took effect on June 30, 2001, increased the income requirement for the conversion of municipalities to cities. By increasing the income requirement from P20 million to P100 million locally-generated income based on CY 2000 constant prices, the authors of what was then Senate Bill No. 2157 and which is now RA 9009, have set the appropriate fiscal benchmark by which to determine the readiness, viability, and preparedness of a municipality to take on the roles, functions and responsibilities of a city.
The League of Cities of the Philippines would like to profess that we feel neither abhorrence nor rejection over any initiative on the part of a municipality to be converted into a city. However, what we strongly object to is the conversion of a municipality that is not yet, by itself, prepared to become a city. Three municipalities (Taguig, Sta. Rosa, and Meycauayan) have been converted into cities after the passage of RA 9009. The League of Cities of the Philippines did not object to these considering that they satisfied the requirements of RA 9009.
Being a city is a serious business, a fact that was established in the Local Government Code of 1991 and further strengthened by the passage of RA 9009. To now turn a blind eye on the noble intentions of the law is tantamount to obliterating its letter and delivering a fatal blow to its spirit.
The passage of these 12 cityhood bills would create a very dangerous precedent. For whatever legal and rational reasons that have been long established through the brilliant minds of our legislators, there is nothing to prevent other municipalities from seeking the same “special treatment” by invoking the constitutional mandate of “equal protection of laws.”
If these municipalities cannot even manage to meet the basic income requirement, how can they be expected to perform and deliver as cities? There may even be other municipalities that are better qualified and the bills only discriminate against them. This only leads us to think that the vested interests of a few are the only ingredients needed to derail a sensible and rational Law.
We have been lobbying our position with the Senate for years, asking for neither special treatment nor exemption. What we ask is that the Law be upheld and respected. We would like to believe that our noble Senators feel the same.
The League of Cities of the Philippines together with all of its constituents are closely observing the conduct of Senate deliberations on this matter and pray that the honorable members of the Senate will individually act on the issue with reason and respect for the Law.
Posted by The League of Cities Policy Blog