By Ben Rosario
The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill that would increase the income requirement for the creation of a municipality and for the declaration of highly urbanized status of component cities.
Voting 212 for and zero against, the Lower House passed House Bill (H.B.) 6177 which also ratonalized the creation of a province, thus, amending Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991.
H.B. 6177 consolidates three separate bills filed by Deputy Speaker and Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn F. Garcia and Representatives Johnny Ty-Pimentel (PDP-Laban, Misamis Occidental); Prospero A. Pichay Jr. (Lakas-CMD, Surigao del Norte); Francisco Jose F. Matugas II (PDP-Laban, Surigao del Sur) and Victor A. Yap (NPC, Tarlac).
Authors of the measure stressed that the bill proposes to correct the imbalance in income requirements created by Repubolic Act 9009 that increase the average annual income requirement for a municipality or cluster of barangays to be converted into a component city.
Pimentel, chairman of the House committee on good government and public accountability, explained that HB 6177 mandates that Congress will be given the duty to pass a joint resolution to declare a city as highly urbanized within 30 days after the said local government unit has met minimum requirements prescribed under the measure.
Congressional declarations identifying a highly urbanized city would have to be ratified in a plebiscite within the province where the locality is geographically located.
On the other hand, Pichay said the bill provides that a municipality can be created if the proposed locality is able to derive a minimum income of P12.5 million as certified by the provincial treasurer concerned.
The minimum income requirement would have to be achieved within the last two consecutive years based on 2016 constant prices.
The bill also provides that a highly urbanized city can be so declared if it has a minimum population of 200,000 and is able to generate an annual income of P250 million for the last two consecutive years based on the 20016 constant prices. The income provisions shall require a certification by the Department of Finance.
Current provision of the law indicates that the income requirement for declaring a city highly urbanized is P50 million.
Under the measure, the income requirements for declaring highly urbanized cities would not include funds from the internal revenue allocation, special funds, trust funds and nonrecurring income.
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