July 25, 2024

Baguio Rep. Mark Go has suggested that an amendment, rather than having the revised city charter declared void is a better option, as the members of the city council last week gave their suggestions to improve the flaws found in Republic Act 11689.

In the special session of the city council on Aug. 18, Go told the city council that while he respects the prerogative of members, it is more practical to amend RA 11689 to avoid going back to the drawing board in case the court finds merit in the claim of some members.

“I know that there are things to improve but to declare it unconstitutional is not the solution,” Go said and suggested for the council to create a technical working group to consolidate their proposals so this will be submitted to the Senate Committee on Local Government.

House Bill 7406 which contain amendments to Sections 23, 50, and 52 of the revised charter has been approved in the House and has been transmitted to the Senate sans the proposed amendments of the city council.

Go has assured the concerns and issues of the city council will be included in the proposed amendments.

Issues raised against the revised charter of Baguio are: inconsistent with the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act which does not mandate an IP representative but is mandatory in the charter; creation of new positions that cannot be filled-up because of personnel limit; absence of a technical description of the city’s land area; absence of public consultation prior to the bill’s transmission to the Office of the President; review by the provincial board of Benguet of ordinances and resolutions passed by the city council; merger of the solid and liquid waste departments when they have separate functions; non-inclusion of the barangay merger; unclear boundaries of the Camp John Hay special economic zone and the barangays for segregation, among others.

Instead of a TWG, Councilor Peter Fianza has been tasked to consolidate the proposals of the city council which will be submitted to the Senate.

The city council also agreed to hold another special session on Aug. 29 to decide on what course of action to take about the charter – whether to file a petition for declaratory relief or to have the charter declared null and void.

City Legal Officer Althea Alberto has been invited to attend the session to render her legal opinion regarding the plans of the city council. – Rimaliza A. Opiña