February 28, 2024

Some members of the city council maintained their call for the conduct of more public consultations and a plebiscite in line with the continuing discussions on Republic Act 11689, or the Revised Charter of the City of Baguio.

In his privilege speech during the special session on Aug. 29, Councilor Jose Molintas said the law contains many mistakes and for such reason he hopes for the House of Representatives to entertain a request to conduct further consultations and for the Senate to repeal the revised city charter. 

“As observed, almost all of the provisions (of the law) were copied from the Local Government Code so apparently almost everything in it is surplusage. There are mistakes, and committing other mistakes will just make this revised city charter unnecessary,” he said, adding a plebiscite is paramount.

“According to the LGC, all general laws, special laws, acts, city charters, decrees, executive orders, proclamations and administrative regulations or part or parcels of which are inconsistent with any of the provisions of this code are hereby repealed or modified accordingly. If you read the LGC and the 1909 city charter, only the name city of Baguio and the date of its incorporation which is Sept. 1 remain. The rest are already revised or modified,” the councilor said.

Molintas said the creation of a new charter will give the city a fresh start to decide its priorities and progress or development. “That’s why it is called charter. I understand the charter is the one that will guide us in charting our future, and not only to address the present needs but to predict our needs in the future” and for this a plebiscite and consultation is mandatory.”

He said the formulation of a new charter needs a process of gathering ideas and opinions of all people and stakeholders, from the youth to the elderly, women, workers, indigenous peoples, the academe, and non-government organizations, and be able to reach an acceptable document which will empower the people and the city to fully develop in accordance with their will.

Councilor Isabelo Cosalan, Jr. is also pushing for a plebiscite, citing the LGC which provides no creation, division, merger, abolition, or substantial alteration of boundaries of LGUs shall take effect unless approved by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite called for the purpose in the political unit or units directly affected.

He pointed out in Section 3 of the revised city charter, the present jurisdiction of the city is what the city shall comprise of.

Other issues raised by the city council in a special session last Aug. 18 with Rep. Mark Go, and its special session on Aug. 29 with City Legal Officer Althea Alberto include provisions concerning the Camp John Hay not being part of the Baguio townsite reservation, territorial boundaries of the city, making mandatory some offices of the city government, and submission of city legislations to Benguet. – Hanna C. Lacsamana