Barangay merger prioritized with postponed polls

BAGUIO CITY  – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan underscored that the local government will work on the merger of the city’s 128 barangays following the postponement of the October 23, 2017 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, saying that it is high time that the city’s barangays should already be merged.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act (RA) 10952 that postponed the October 23, 2017 barangay and SK elections to the second Monday of May 2018 and for incumbent barangay officials to serve in a hold over capacity.

The local chief executive pointed out that the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) can now continue discussing among themselves on how the city’s 128 barangays will be divided to comply with the provisions of the Local Government Code to allow the city’s barangays to be able to have a larger population and share from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).

“We will have to maximize the available time given by the postponement of the barangay and SK elections to engage barangay officials and residents to determine the actual number of merged barangays in the city,” Domogan stressed.

He added that the city’s barangays should be merged before the May 2018 barangay and SK elections so that the electorate will be voting for the barangay and SK officials of the merged barangays.

Under the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991, a barangay must have at least 5,000 inhabitants to exist as a barangay.

Based on the initial results of the consultations conducted by the City Council Committee on Barangay Affairs, the number of barangays in the city could be reduced from 34 to 40 barangays depending on the ordinance to be submitted for deliberations and eventual approval.

According to him, the actual mapping of the barangays to be merged has been presented generating numerous suggestions not only from the concerned officials but also from the residents who aired their suggestions and recommendations on the proposed merger of barangays.

The proposed merger of the city’s 128 barangays had always been deliberated by the previous members of the City Council but no concrete action was made to significantly reduce the number of city barangays to a reasonable number wherein the local government could provide more development projects and improve the delivery of basic services to the people.

Domogan is recommending that once the barangays are merged, each of the barangays should be divided to 7 puroks so that each of the puroks could be the source of the 7 kagawads to be elected by constituents to serve their next term as barangay officials after the May 2018 barangay and SK elections pursuant to the newly approved law.

The present batch of barangay officials support the proposed merger of barangays but it will depend on what barangays will be merged and the outcome of the merger plan.

By Dexter A. See

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