Mati officials cry foul on Philippine cities' protest
By Mai Gevera
Davao City (12 February) -- "We have as much right to be a city."
This was the statement made by City of Mati mayor Michelle Rabat after hearing the protest of the 120 cities that were against the undue conversion of the 16 municipalities into cities.
Although declared to be the newest city in the Davao Region, the City of Mati's entry to the League of Cities was still on hold after the protest was made last January 28.
Rabat narrated that Mati, as a municipality, was even ahead of Davao City, but its growth was only impeded by the dirty political rift in the said town.
"It is about time that we give Matinians the long-awaited services and benefits that we all deserve," she said.
The 120 cities were against the conversion of municipalities into cities without reaching the minimum local income of P100M and 150,000 population, and/or 100 sq. km. land area. The protest states that these 16 converted cities, which include Mati, were not able to meet these requirements and that there must be a move to make the conversion void.
However, Vice-Mayor Cesar de Erio claimed that of the 16 newly-converted cities, only the City of Mati met the requirements especially on the local income, population, and the land area.
The 120 protesting cities felt the unwelcome effect of the creation of these new cities. It was stated that instead of getting 14.3% additional Internal Revenue Allocation for 2008, they will only get 4.7% due to the creation of the new cities.
"Why don't they allow growth and development to spread and be felt in the countryside? They have already benefited from their IRA long time ago and so it's about time that the people in the countryside will feel these government projects and services," Rabat said.
Rabat added that the creation of new cities will solve the congestion issue as more and more people will now opt to live in the countryside rather than stay in the metropolitan and suffer high cost of living.
She bared that this is one way of attracting more residents who will love to settle in the countryside and not worry on the kind of government projects and services delivered to them. (PIA XI) [top]