September 30, 2023

If all plans push through, Itogon may be the first town in Benguet to attain a cityhood status.

Benguet Rep. Eric Go Yap, during a recent visit in the municipality, said Itogon is already ripe for cityhood, owing to its land area and annual income.

Yap is currently consulting stakeholders in the municipality to realize the cityhood bid before filing a bill in Congress.

“Magfa-file tayo ng house bill para maging cityang Itogon. Unang-una, wala tayong problema sa land area. Pagdating naman po sa income, kaya naman po ‘yan. Kung sa population, sa tingin ko achievable po ‘yan,” Yap said.

There is a growing interest among urbanized municipalities in the country to bid for a cityhood status after Senate Bill (SB) 255 and its counterpart, House Bill 8207, which seek to ease the requirements on converting municipalities to component cities, lapsed into a law as Republic Act 11683.

RA 11683 has amended Section 450 of the Local Government Code of 1991, exempting a municipality from the land and population requirements if it generates an income of at least P100 million for two consecutive years.

Former Sen. Panfilo Lacson, author of SB 255, earlier said several municipalities have been denied of their bid for cityhood on because their land area is smaller than 100 square kilometers or has a population of less than 150,000.

Under the new law, local government units are allowed to fully operationalize their functions in addressing the inequity in national resources and provide a greater number of people the effectual impact of being a city with better delivery of public services and a fair share of progress.

The capital town of La Trinidad has been in the forefront of cityhood with some House bills failing to hurdle the previous Congress due to issues on land area.

Yap said issues on land area were the main reason the bill he filed during the 18th Congress, seeking for the cityhood status of La Trinidad, has failed. 

La Trinidad’s annual regular revenue is more than P300 million while Itogon generates more than P250 million a year, which qualify the two LGUs to bid for cityhood status under RA 11683. – Harley F. Palangchao