Issue of June 19, 2016
     
NEWS
Benguet
Ifugao
Kalinga
Mt. Province
 
OPINION
 

66th Courier Anniversary Issue
 
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Cityhood bid for La Trinidad to be refilled in 17th Congress
by Harley F. Palangchao

The long-time bid to attain cityhood for La Trinidad, Benguet could be revived in the 17th Congress.

Benguet Rep. Ronald Cosalan said Thursday the call for La Trinidad’s cityhood is one of the plans to be formalized in a bill to be filed during the Duterte administration.

Cosalan, who was guest of honor and speaker in the 66th foundation day anniversary of La Trinidad, said in terms of population and income, La Trinidad is undoubtedly qualified for cityhood, but the only problem is on land area.

Section 450 of the Local Government Code mandates that a cluster of barangays or a municipality can be converted into a city if it has an average annual income of P20 million for the last two consecutive years, and a population of at least 150,000, or a contiguous territory of 100 square kilometers.

The minimum income requirement however raised to P100M because of the passage of Republic Act 9009, which amended Sec. 450.

La Trinidad’s population as of August 2015 is 129,133, the highest among all 13 towns in Benguet and for several years, has surpassed the minimum annual income of P100M.

Its total land area, however, is only 82.74 km² or 17.26 km² short of the minimum requirement.

In 2014, Sen. Gregorio Honasan, during a public hearing on cityhood concerns, said it would be “utterly unfair to deny cityhood to a municipality simply because its land area or population is less than what is required by the Local Government Code.”

Honasan has filed a bill proposing that a municipality be qualified for cityhood if it has a land area of at least 50 km² instead of the 100 km² requirement.

Cosalan said he was informed that the La Trinidad local government unit has had previous talks with the nearby towns of Sablan and Tublay for settlement of boundary disputes and about its concern on land area requirement.

La Trinidad is one of the highly-developed urban growth centers in the Cordillera like Tabuk City, according to the Regional Development Council.

At present, La Trinidad is home to several higher learning institutions, a center for banking and finance, and an expansion area of socio-economic activities from Baguio.


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