December 4, 2022

A task force formed by City Mayor Benjamin Magalong in response to the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s letter about the need to merge Baguio’s barangays will conduct a cost-benefit analysis about the long-shelved plan.
Headed by City Legal Officer Richard Dayag, the task force will call for a consultation with concerned stakeholders such as barangay officials, interested constituents, and other government agencies.
Currently, the technical working group that initiated the merger is suggesting trimming the number of barangays in Baguio from 129 to 33.
In an earlier interview with the Baguio Midland Courier, Association of Barangay Councils president Councilor Michael Lawana said the suggested number of merged barangays is now compliant with the requirements of the Local Government Code, which is for one barangay in a highly-urbanized city to at least have 5,000 inhabitants.
Lawana is hoping for the planned merger to move forward so that by the 2023 barangay elections, the 129 barangays would have been trimmed down.
Merger of barangays has long been in the pipeline but after se-veral consultations and even with several ABC presidents, the plan has not moved forward.
Apart from the issues on boundary, Lawana earlier said one point of contention was on the need to hold plebiscite and who will fund the plebiscite – Congress or the city government.
Lawana said they consulted with Rep. Mark Go for the possibility of the national government allotting funds for a plebiscite. He said Go was open to the idea of Congress allotting funds for the exercise but Lawana said congressional action takes time and this might again stall the work that they have already started.
The LGC states that a barangay may be created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered by law or ordinance, subject to approval by a majority of votes cast in a plebiscite to be conducted by the Commission on Elections.
The National Barangay Operations Office of the DILG earlier wrote the mayor about the need to merge the barangays for a more viable, sustainable, and efficient management of barangay operations.
The DILG is also urging other LGUs to merge in view of the devolution of functions of the national government to LGUs, which will begin in 2023.
As of 2020, only one barangay of Baguio has a population of more than 15,000; 15 between 5,001 and 15,000; 35 with between 2,001 and 5,000; 66 with between 501 and 2,000; eight with below 500; and four with less than 100. – Rimaliza A. Opiña