ITOGON, Benguet – The municipal government supports the proposal of Rep. Eric Yap for the conversion of the municipality into the province’s component city to help spur growth and development in the locality.
Mayor Bernard Waclin stated that the lawmaker’s proposal to convert the municipality into a city will surely be a welcome development because it will open the opportunity for the local government to be entitled to a bigger share from the national tax allotment.
Earlier, Congressman Yap vowed to file a bill in the 19th Congress for the conversion of Itogon into a component city of the province while pursuing the proposed cityhood of the capital town of La Trinidad for Benguet to have at least one city that will contribute in spurring progress in the said locality.
Waclin pointed out that the conversion of the town into a component city will definitely open greater opportunities for investors to establish their businesses in strategic areas in the locality for the generation of job opportunities for qualified residents as well as increase economic activities and sustain the sources of livelihood of the people.
The local chief executive underscored that the local government will cooperate with the proponent and the House committee where the proposed bill will be referred to facilitate its immediate passage for the realization of the establishment of a city in Benguet.
Yap is also considering the conversion of Itogon into a component city because of its wide tracks of land, bigger population and internally generated resources that could easily meet the prescribed standards.
Under the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local Government Code of the Philippines, a first class municipality must have a minimum requirements for a first class or urban town to be converted into a city include the land area of not less than 10,000 hectares, an annual income of at least P100 million and a population of at least 150,000 inhabitants.
In the case of La Trinidad, the local government is able to fulfill the 2 major qualifications but its land area is more or less 8,000 hectares which is below the minimum land area requirement although it is able to qualify in terms of the annual income and population.
On the other hand, Itogon has a land area of more or less P60,000 hectares, an annual income of more or less P100 million and a population of more or less 100,000 inhabitants.
Congressman Yap pointed out that it is high time that Benguet should have a city aside from the fact that it should also be reclassified as a first-class province from its present status as a second class province because it is actually operating like a first class local government.
According to him, once Itogon or La Trinidad will be converted into a city, investments will surely flourish in the said local governments that will contribute in generating more jobs for the people, increased economic activities and sources of livelihood which will result in growth and development in the said areas.
He pointed out that there should be development that should be undertaken in the various municipalities of the province so that interested investors will be able to be convinced to establish their respective businesses that will contribute in spurring the economic activities and sources of livelihood in the areas where they intend to operate.