LCP and the Supreme Court : Why we NEED to SPUR the Moment

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My first ever ‘socio-political’ post.

UPDATE: I’ve been with the government for exactly a month and a half now. Joining the government, especially the Local Government Unit of the City of San Fernando (P), exposes you to a lot of issues and enjoins you to participate on these issues.

Last month, the Supreme Court of the Philippines granted cityhood to 16 municipalities, which undergone a series of High Court flip-flops rejecting, entertaining and then overturning previous decisions that nullified the city status of these local government units.

An excerpt from Inquirer Nation’s Headline written by Marlon Ramos:

Even Midas Marquez, the high court’s spokesperson and administrator, appeared nonplussed when he faced reporters Wednesday to explain the justices’ change of stance.

“This is really a very unusual case considering that this is the third decision of the court… This is also the third reversal [of the original ruling],” Marquez said.

“I have yet to hear of another case that has gone this way,” he said.

A SUMMARY OF EVENTS

2007 – the 16 municipalities were converted to cities

November 2008the high court voted 6-5 declaring the cityhood laws unlawful

April 2009 the high court upheld its November 2008 ruling with a split vote of 6-6, at the same time denying a second motion for reconsideration filed by the towns that lost their city status

December 2009 the high court decided that a deadlocked vote did not reflect the majority of its members and thus restored the validity of the cityhood laws that converted the 16 towns to cities.

August 2010It once again reversed itself. Voting 7-6 with two abstentions, the high court reinstated its 2008 decision, stripping the 16 cities of their city status

February 15, 2011 Voting 7-6 with two abstentions, the Supreme Court en banc reversed itself for the third time and affirmed the constitutionality of the cityhood laws converting the following municipalities as cities.

So not just once, not just twice, but thrice..

THE CASE

Question: Why are the 16 municipalities not qualified?

Because they didn’t comply with the following Local Government Code and RA 9009 requirements:

a) P100M locally-generated income

b) 100 sq. km. land area

c) 150,000 population

Quoting Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganaza,

None of the 16 municipalities met this criteria, Braganza said. “If they are qualified, we will be happy,” he said. “But they are not.”

SO WHAT HAPPENS IF THE DECISION IS NOT CONDEMNED?

In the City of San Fernando, we’ll lose the following services:

1) 27 housing projects / year (150,000PhP each)

2) funds for Personnel Service (PhP9 Million) = 62 employees of the Local gov’t of San Fernando

3) PhP 1 million deduction in our Calamity Fund / year

4) PhP 1 million deduction in our Gender and Development Fund = programs on reproductive health, nutrition, and maternal and child health care

5) Php 5 million deduction for the basic services – 2500 scholars will lose their scholarships, 1000 constituents will no longer be given funds for Self Employment Assistance Program; this would also mean deduction PhilHealth funds for the masses; less classrooms, books and additional teachers and funds for teachers’ trainings.

NATIONWIDE ANNUAL LOSS

PhP 189 million – calamity fund
PhP 758 million housing
11,855 employees
P948 millionbasic services

CLARIFICATIONS

Quoting Mayor Braganza:

”We, in LCP, maintain this position not out of greed or selfishness, but out of respect for the Constitution and the Local Government Code. This is not about money, but about upholding the rule of law”

“We have nothing personal against the 16 municipalities. But applicants for cityhood must first meet the qualifications for cityhood, without resorting to legal shortcuts”

To condemn this decision, the LCP launched its SPUR Campaign.

Stop the illegal conversion of cities!  Protect the Local Government Code!  Uphold the Constitution!  Respect the rule of law!

Stop the illegal conversion of cities! Protect the Local Government Code! Uphold the Constitution! Respect the rule of law!

The LCP is enjoining every one to Stop the Illegal Conversion of Municipalities into Cities, Protect the Local Goverment Code, Uphold the Rule of Law, and Respect the Philippine Constitution.

As what Mayor Oscar Rodriguez, LCP President and Mayor of the City of San Fernando, said, we do not want this cityhood case to be the start of the downfall of our judicial system. Let’s resolve this issue the appropriate way.

SPUR the moment.

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